Not only are dogs adorable and loyal companions, but they also offer several health benefits to their human owners. Approximately 48% of Australian households own dogs, making them the most popular pet in Australia, and for good reason! Many studies have shown that dogs have several mental and physical health benefits for humans. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of owning a dog.
1. Dog's Improve Mental Health By Reducing Feelings Of Loneliness
Loneliness is a common concern for many people, especially the elderly and those who live alone or are socially isolated. An Australian study completed in 2019 found that having a dog reduced feelings of loneliness in humans. Due to their innate loyalty and affectionate nature, dogs can offer their owners a tremendous amount of love and companionship. As a result, this can lead to improved mental health for those who care for them. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that pets and therapy animals can relieve anxiety, depression, stress, social isolation and loneliness.
2. Dog's Are Good For Your Heart
Numerous studies have examined the link between dog ownership and human health, with one comprehensive review looking at data collected from 1950 to 2019. Specifically, the findings suggest that owning a dog is associated with a lower risk of death over the long term. This is likely due to a reduction in cardiovascular mortality. This can be attributed to the unique bond between humans and dogs, which can help to reduce stress. Stress is a major contributor to heart problems.
3. Dog's Encourage Physical Activity
Owning a dog can also encourage owners to move their bodies and get more exercise. A British study found that dog owners are four times more likely than people without dogs to meet physical activity guidelines. Dog ownership can help people stay active by providing motivation for daily walks or playtime. Subsequently leading to better physical health and well-being.
According to the Telethon Kids Institute, young children who frequently engage in walking and playing activities with their family dog tend to be more physically active, have lower screen time, and experience better sleep habits.
4. Dog's Facilitate Socialisation For Humans Leading To Improved Mental Health
Socialisation plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy mental state for humans. One of the most effective ways to interact with new people and build connections is through the companionship of a dog. Dogs are fantastic icebreakers and excellent conversation starters. A variety of socialisation opportunities arise when spending time at dog parks, during walks, or in other pet-friendly gathering spots. In fact, research has shown that individuals who are accompanied by a dog receive more friendly glances and smiles from strangers and are more likely to engage in conversation.
Owning a dog can offer many health benefits beyond just the joy and companionship they bring to our lives. Whether you are looking for a companion to help reduce loneliness, a reason to get outside and exercise, or a way to meet new people and socialise, owning a dog can improve your overall health and well-being.