Maria from The Happy Dog Inn

We know that our dogs bring us a lot of joy but did you know that they actually improve our health?  First of all, we can all use a boost to our joy and overall happiness.  As you form a loving bond with your dog, they will often return your affection with the kind of unconditional love that is difficult to find elsewhere.  They will always be there for you to be your companion, confidante, and cuddler and that kind of relationship can only be good for the soul.  But, while we place high value on happiness, your dog can actually boost your physical health!

First, dogs of all sizes and ages require some level of play and activity, as well as daily walks.  By keeping them active, you will automatically be more active.  Daily activity and walking with your dog burns calories which will help manage your weight and may even lower cholesterol and blood pressure.  Dogs can also help provide stress relief.  Health elaborates on this phenomenon, “Simply being in the same room as your pet can have a calming effect. “A powerful neurochemical, oxytocin, is released when we look at our companion animal, which brings feelings of joy,” says Johnson. “It’s also accompanied by a decrease in cortisol, a stress hormone.” Through her research with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Johnson has witnessed the powerful effects of animals. “One veteran couldn’t leave his home without his wife until we placed a dog with him and in less than a week he was able to go around his town,” she says.”  In addition, owning a dog can help improve your immune system.  Studies have shown that children that grow up in a household where a dog lives have a stronger immune system than children that have not.  Further, WebMD notes that children raised in a home with a dog have lower incidence of allergies or asthma, “Babies raised in families that have pets may be less likely to get allergies and asthma, some studies show.It has to start early, ideally before a baby is 6 months old, says Beck.Babies with dogs or cats at home have fewer colds and ear infectionsduring their first year than babies living in pet-free homes, one study found.”  Lastly, a dog can help provide social support for its owners, including children in the household.  Adults and children that struggle with psychological disorders or other behavioral conditions including depression or Autism have found the calming presence of dogs to be a source of support and boost to self-esteem.  Yes, those dogs we love so much are not only good for our hearts but good for our whole body.