If you google ‘man’s best friend’, Dogs are the first to appear in your results. For centuries, they have been aiding humans in their livelihood. A direct descendant of wolves, dogs were domesticated and reared to help with farming, herding, and guarding. They are still used for the same today but recent medical studies have also attributed medical benefits to having dogs.
Lower blood pressure
People who have dogs tend to have lower blood pressure levels. Research has shown that human-dog interactions like talking to or petting a dog aid in lowering blood pressure levels. Medically referred to as the “pet effect”, dogs as pets are recommended by physicians a lot.
If you have a pet dog, you would definitely be aware of their heightened sense of smell, especially if we are eating food they like. Thanks to their sense of smell, research has been done where dogs are able to sniff out cancer. Studies involving people with lung or breast cancer found that pups can distinguish biochemical markers of cancer just by smelling someone’s breath.
Dogs are well known to sense intruders even before they step inside the house. This same sense applies to detecting epileptic seizures too. Service dogs can even be trained to sit on top of their owners thereby not allowing them to turn over and choke.
Anxiety, Depression, and Stress
Chances are that if you like dogs, seeing one will definitely make your mood better. Such mood-boosting characteristics of dogs also help with mental health. Studies have found that having dogs as pets reduces taking medication for diseases such as depression and anxiety. So much so that some doctors are foregoing medication and prescribing pets. Evidence indicates that people with pets visit the doctor 20% less.
Having a pet dog means you have to take care of it. This in turn means everyday walks, regular feeding, playing, grooming, and vet appointments. Such commitments tend to keep one more fit, both physically and mentally.
Dogs are also known to boost levels of serotonin and dopamine in your brain. These are brain chemicals that keep us happy, content, and affectionate towards others.
While some people may be allergic to dog hair, others could actually benefit from allergies related to dogs. Exposing ourselves to dogs and their light germs would boost our immune system and keep it on its toes. Since we naturally have a defense system against germs, being exposed to them in small amounts actually strengthens our immune system.
Dogs tend to make us feel less lonely and more loved. They are great support systems for people going through the loss of a family member, break-up, and overall hard times in their lives.
Apart from this dogs can be trained to assist old people, guide blind people to walk and even at times rescue people from disasters. Dogs are often used to sniff people buried under rubbles due to earthquakes or avalanches.
Okay, this is not related to health but we had to include it because dogs are so darn cute!