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How Owning a Dog Can Make You Healthier

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It’s no secret that our furry, four-legged friends bring us endless amounts of joy and entertainment. Fido may not be a doctor, but he does have the ability to improve your mental and physical health. He may even be able to boost your social life. 

We spend a significant amount of time and energy caring for our pups to make sure they’re healthy. That love and care goes both ways, too. According to the American Heart Association, owning a dog could lead to a reduced risk of heart disease and improved quality of life. Your pooch may even help you live longer!

Physical Health

Owning a dog can also lead to fewer allergies and a stronger immune system. Children growing up in an environment with pets are much less likely to develop allergies than those aren’t exposed to canine fur, dirt, and allergens. What’s more, growing up with a dog reduces the likelihood of common skin allergies such as eczema. 

As far as exercise goes, most doctors recommend at least 30 moderate minutes on a daily basis, or 15 intense minutes. Similar to humans, dogs need anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours of daily exercise. 

If you’re making sure Fido gets his exercise by taking him on daily walks, then he’s already inadvertently helping you improve your physical health. One study of more than 5,200 Japanese adults indicated that those who owned a dog were 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of exercise than others. 

Regular walking or playing with your pup can also help to decrease your blood pressure cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. Of course, that added sunshine and fresh air is a nice perk, too. 

While your dog boosts your immunity and physical activity levels, return the favor by giving him Pet Honesty’s Allergy Immunity and PureMobility Chews, plus a 10-for-1 Multivitamin with the Best Sellers 3-Pack.

Mental Health

While we need to learn how to recognize mental health issues in our dogs, our pups have a natural instinct for sensing their owners’ potential mental health issues. In fact, dogs can smell changes in brain chemicals and hormone production. If you’re feeling down in the dumps and trying to hide it, your pooch is still going to know—and he’ll probably provide you with some extra cuddles and affection as a result. 

Spending time with our dogs can also reduce stress levels by lowering cortisol hormones and raising serotonin and dopamine levels (the feel-good chemicals).

For those struggling with loneliness or wanting to break out of isolation, dogs are a great source of companionship. Who doesn’t love coming home to a dog who’s been looking forward to that moment all day? Dogs can also be natural conversation starters when it comes to human social interaction. 

If you and your dog share anxiety struggles, consider Pet Honesty’s Premium Hemp Calming Chews, which use natural ingredients to calm and soothe an anxious dog. 

Other Benefits

In addition to improving our general physical and mental health, dogs have been known to help with specific diagnoses as well. For example, similar to hormone and chemical brain changes, dogs can sense drops in blood glucose levels. This means that a dog owner with diabetes may be able to rely on their pooch to alert them when it’s time for a snack. 

A dog is also able to sense oncoming seizures, which is helpful when it comes to alerting a dog owner with epilepsy that it’s time to move away from a hot stove or other dangerous area. In other cases, a dog would be able to alert parents if a child has a seizure and needs assistance. 

For children with ADHD, dogs can provide good opportunities to practice chores and learn about routines and responsibility. Playing with a dog can also burn extra energy, promoting better sleep. 

Dogs are also helpful for children with Autism who are experiencing sensory issues. Petting dogs and becoming used to the feeling of fur can help children become more comfortable; this can also be a calming experience. Similarly, petting or scratching a dog can help stroke victims rebuild muscle strength. 

Studies have also shown that in the presence of a dog, Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts. 

Of course, dogs shouldn’t be used to replace real doctors or mental health professionals. Owning a dog is a big responsibility and commitment that should not be taken lightly. If you are considering adopting a dog but aren’t sure if you can handle the demands, consider walking a friend’s dog every so often or volunteering at a local animal shelter