With the holiday season over, we start the new year with a fresh zest for rebirth. There is nothing more reinvigorating to the human spirit than adding a dog to your family.
Dogs have a very simple way of bringing happiness into your life, sometimes in big ways but more often in small, micro moments that collectively add up to a lifetime of joy for you and your dog.
But there are many other additional benefits than just the ‘feel good’ moments of spending time with your pup - dogs really, truly can change your life.
Dogs Relieve Stress
Did you know that just by adding a dog to their families, cardiac patients realized a decrease in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), these benefits are also applicable to any dog parent, and one of their recent studies found that simply by interacting with animals humans experience a decrease in cortisol, the stress-related hormone, as well as lowered their blood pressure (source).
Think back at the last time when you were in a stressful situation which was made better because of a dog's presence. For instance, being at the airport and experiencing a delay in your flight or not being sure if the plane was going to take off at all. These are instances where your emotions are escalated and stress levels rise because of the uncertainties of the situation. But, experiencing the mere presence of a little dog being walked by its owner or a service dog greeting passengers at the gate is enough to divert your own stressful situation, which ultimately puts you in a more calm state of mind.
The Human-Animal Bond Research Institute Pet Ownership Study recently conducted scientific research that found that people who shared their homes with pets save a total of nearly $12 billion in annual healthcare costs (source). The main reason for the savings was two fold, with the fewer physician office visits contributing greatly followed by reduced incidences of obesity. The group also discovered that the severity of many illnesses that cause a human to take a trip to their physician or emergency room were lessened when a pup was added to the mix.
Clearly by bringing a dog into your family, you will benefit physically. But there are also emotional benefits that come with being a pet parent. You know that feeling you get when you come home, tired from a long day at the office, and your pup greets you at the door - ever joyful and enraptured by your mere presence? That’s not just your imagination. There are numerous studies that support how dogs help humans feel connected, less lonely and generally lift our spirits. It’s not just what we humans receive, it’s also that we are able to provide unconditional love in a judgement-free environment. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and loveable, as well as to be loving to a vulnerable creature reaps huge emotional benefits.
Heck, by simply expanding your pack you have a very good chance of improving your health, as well as the health of a dog. Creating a quality human-animal bond with a caring foundation contributes to these good feelings, health benefits, and sense of family.
As humans, when we are aware of our dog's physical and emotional needs their life becomes enhanced. So, the next time you or one of your friends needs a little health boost make sure to consider adopting a dog!