The health benefits of a furry friend

The health benefits of a furry friend

What keeps humans active, has a wet nose and four legs? A dog!

Man’s best friend just got a whole lot friendlier. Multiple studies have shown that dogs can improve a person’s health, both physically and psychologically.

One study found dog owners had up to a third of a reduced risk of premature death. Another study at Harvard University suggests a dog could lower a person’s risk of heart disease.

Caring for a dog is a lot of responsibility. One of the healthiest chores is walking the dog multiple times a day. Two studies have shown that aging adults were in better health because of the exercise they received from walking their dogs.

Having a dog in the house not only benefits adults, a furry companion can also benefit a baby, even before it is born. Research published in 2017 showed that children whose mothers spent time with dogs during pregnancy were at a lower risk of developing eczema. Children exposed to a dog’s bacteria also saw a decrease in asthma symptoms.

Dogs don’t just have an effect on our physical well-being; four-legged friends make humans happy. When we interact with dogs, oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” shoots up and boosts our psychologic happiness. Dogs make great support animals because of their ability to reduce depression and stress symptoms as well as help with cancer and PTSD patients. Previous studies have also revealed that dog owners experience more positive social interactions than people who don’t have dogs.

Canines also help humans indirectly, as dogs share many of the same health issues as humans do, such as developing cancers, obesity and dementia. Studying these ailments in animals often sheds new insight into how to better care for people, and their pets.

Those dogs we love so dearly deserve an extra tummy rub and treat.

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