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Owning a Dog: It's Sooooo Good (Healthy) For You!

Matt Formica
Matt Formica

Dec 04, 2014

I’ve come to the conclusion that the goal of life is pretty simple to define:  we all want to live well.  The hard part is figuring out how.  And it can be difficult because there isn't just one way, but many, (I.E. exercise, diet, hard work, making money, serving others, marriage, children, etc) and honing in on the one that makes the most sense for you often takes a lot of time and trial and error.

But one thing you can do, which has been scientifically proven to lead to an all-around healthier life, is owning dog!   It’s true.  Data gathered over the past few decades has shown significant life improvements and benefits of being a dog owner.  How so?  We’re so glad you asked…

Physical Benefits

Sorry non dog owners, but the simple fact is dog owners tend to move more on average than non dog owners.  But it makes sense right?!  Dogs need activity to live well themselves, so most dog owners don’t have a choice but to be more active.  According to research published on medicalnewstoday.com, “Researchers from Michigan State University found that individuals who had a dog and walked it had a 34% higher chance of attaining federal physical activity targets.”  (Note that half the US population does not meet the federally recommended activity level target).

It even goes a step further.  Dog owners often end up doing more because of the motivation gained by their furry friends.  “People who walked their dog also had higher overall levels of both moderate and vigorous physical activities. There appears to be a strong link between owning and walking a dog and achieving higher levels of physical activity, even after accounting for the actual dog walking."  Ahem, Team SportLeash in the house!

And of course, the increased physical activity that results from dog ownership is only going to aid in cardiovascular health – so much so that even the American Heart Association, the world’s largest cardiovascular health group, came out with a statement last year articulating that very message.

Emotional Enhancement

Speaking of the heart, the emotional effects of dog ownership have also proven over the years to be overwhelmingly positive.

According to helpguide.org, “most pets fulfill the basic human need to touch.”  And there are many people in the world who find the blessing of emotional connection for the first time with their dogs.  Think about how powerful that is – your dog is always there for you, ready to be pet, to give you a kiss!, go anywhere, do anything – just to spend time with you.  Emotionally, it's extremely beneficial.

Other benefits researchers have found: 

  • Babies develop immunities to allergies more often when they grow up around dogs
  • Dogs have proven to help autistic children in the classroom, as they can relate better to other kids when dogs are present and the point of focus is the same for each child.
  • Aiding the aged – studies show that Alzheimer's patients have less anxious outbursts with dogs around; caregivers feel more at ease in the presence of canines, and aged people get companionship and exercise that they wouldn't otherwise without a dog in the picture.
  • Heart attack survivors with pets live longer than those without.
  • Date magnets! Dogs are great for meeting people – friends or love connections – as having a dog is an easy and more natural conversation starter.  This is especially helpful to more introverted personalities.  So if match.com isn’t working out, adopt a dog and go for a walk – you’ll have no trouble meeting new people.
  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression, as playing with and being around your dog leads to increased levels of serotonin, dopamine, and better chemical release in the brain. (While also decreasing blood pressure).  All you would need is one day at the SportLeash office to see this in action … our CEO and founder sings to his dog all the time … its how we gage how good of a day he’s having!

So if you have a dog, good job!  While it can be hard work (and often a lot of money spent on food, accessories and vet bills), it’s clearly well worth it in the end.

And if you don’t have a dog, consider adopting one today!  It will only give you a greater chance at a life lived well.

 

We'd love to hear/see how your life is better with your dog!  Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @SportLeash

Now go on and have a happy, healthy, dog-filled rest of the week! 

 

Thank you, Sources!:  Webmd.com, NYTimes.com, medicalnewstoday.com, helpguide.org, clean-organized-family-home.com

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