Contribution from freelance writer Jenny Holt
In 2016, it was estimated that there were approximately 80 million dogs owned in the United States – that’s 47% of American households. But has anyone really considered the benefits of having a dog?
Man’s best friend isn’t just a pet, they actually have numerous benefits to offer their owner. If you already have a pooch, you know exactly how they make you feel, but here are our top six benefits that you may not be aware of.
1. You get sick less often
Our furry friends carry so much bacteria on them that owners become immune and therefore aren’t as easily susceptible to illnesses as non-dog owners are. Children growing up in a dog household are also less likely to develop allergies in later life.
2. You become less stressed
Dogs prompt our bodies to release ‘feel-good’ hormones such as serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin while, at the same time, decreasing cortisol, the stress hormone. Stroking, playing with or simply watching your dog can reduce daily stress.
3. Dogs smell cancer
Yes, you read that right! Canines have such an advanced sense of smell that they can sniff out people with cancer, even in the early stages. Scientific studies have backed this point up and dogs are now being trained to detect cancer in as little as three hours of meeting someone.
4. You’ll exercise more
The bigger the dog, the more exercise they’ll need which means that you’ll be exercising too. Even taking your dog for a 30-minute walk every day will greatly improve your health as well as your social life – people are more likely to stop and talk to a dog-walker rather than a stranger without one. You might even get a date out of it.
5. You’ll feel safer
Dogs are the greatest security system in your home. Their keen sense of hearing means that they can detect burglars quicker than anyone else and their bark and bite is a great deterrent for crime. That’s good for both your mental and physical health – you can sleep feeling that much safer at night.
6. Dogs make us better people
Like children, we spend so much time looking after our dogs, both teaching them and caring for them, that we end up learning quite a lot in the process. Dogs teach us patience, commitment, and selflessness. We grow as people by learning to look after our best friends! What more could you ask for?