Dog ownership involves a lot of responsibility and commitment, which will have an impact on many different areas of your life. Funding everything your dog needs, taking them for walks, providing for their needs for socialisation, training and attention and all of the other different facets of dog ownership can make the whole process rather daunting at the outset – and feeling the weight of your responsibilities heavily sometimes is natural, and means that you’re taking everything sufficiently seriously!
Dog ownership is also of course hugely rewarding, and provides a number of both tangible and intangible benefits for the dog’s owner as well as the dog – and can actually improve your health and help you to live longer!
In this article, we will look at some of the ways in which owning a dog can benefit your health. Read on to learn more.
Starting with the most obvious health benefit of dog ownership, all dogs – no matter how sedentary – need exercise, and simply walking your dog once or twice a day provides a huge boost to your own health as well.
Walking and playing with your dog all helps to keep you fit and supple and boost your endurance, and the more active you are when out with your dog, the greater these benefits will be.
Exercise is of course also the best way to maintain a healthy weight or lose those few extra pounds, and avoid the onset of middle aged spread. Keeping trim and avoiding gaining weight will not only help you to look and feel better, but it will also greatly reduce the risk of you developing problems such as diabetes, heart disease and other health issues when you get older.
Simply getting out and about in the fresh air is really good for you, and can help to boost your circulation and even strengthen your immune system. People who walk their dogs regularly tend to be less prone to picking up coughs, colds, and other minor ills, and generally tend to be healthier than people who don’t spend so much time out of doors.
Plenty of socialisation with other dogs is the key to ensuring that your own dog is well adjusted, knows how to play nicely with others and that they get their emotional need for time spent with their own kind met, but it is also really good for you as the dog owner too!
Simply walking your dog allows you to make connections with other dog owners and enjoy the benefits of socialising with likeminded individuals who share your interests, and can help you to connect with your local community.
Many people make lifelong friends or even find love just from meeting and chatting to other dog owners – and even many non-dog owners may stop for a chat too if they want to say hello to you or your dog!
Giving and receiving love is a vital element of emotional wellbeing, whether that relationship be between you and another person, or you and your dog. The love and regard that our dogs show for us can be hugely rewarding, as can knowing that whatever else happens, you always have a sympathetic ear and some emotional support waiting for you at home.
Exercise, socialisation, emotional bonding and getting out in the fresh air are all really good for us both physically and emotionally, and they can all help to improve your mental health too! Dog ownership can be a lifeline for people who suffer from anxiety, depression and related issues, helping to provide stability, consistency and support, which can in turn, help to keep you on an even keel or improve your mood.
Dog ownership and the associated benefits that it brings in the form of exercise, support and creating a brighter outlook are all really good for helping to support long-term health in areas that you can’t see, like helping to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
This in turn helps you to stay fit and healthy and even live for longer, benefits that certainly aren’t to be sniffed at!
Dogs also have a calmative effect on their owners, which also helps to keep your blood pressure stable and consistent, and helps to protect your health as well as your good temper!
Once we become adults, we don’t have as many opportunities to play and be silly as we do when we are children – but when you have a dog in tow, all bets are off! The simple joy of playing with a dog, watching their silly antics and generally picking up on their lust for life all help to make dog owners more well-rounded and joyful – after all, laughter is the best medicine, and there is no shortage of it when dogs are involved!