The Benefits of Dogs (and other furry or feathered friends):- 

I knew my 2 lovely dogs enriched my life with their unconditional love, but I was amazed to learn all about their health benefits. Dogs are so acutely attuned to our behaviour and emotions that studies have shown that dogs can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as ease loneliness, encourage exercise and improve your cardiovascular health!

Studies have found: –

  • The ownership of pets, especially dogs, reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with dogs have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
  • Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
  • Heart attack patients with dogs survive longer than those without.
  • Pet owners over age 65 make 30% fewer visits to their doctors.

Caring for a dog helps us live healthier by:

         a. Increasing our exercise. Unsurprisingly, dog owners are far more likely to meet their own daily exercise requirements. More than that, taking a dog for walks plays an important role in easing symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder, and post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

         b. Providing companionship. Isolation and loneliness can trigger symptoms of depression, so as well as giving us joy, their companionship can actually help prevent illness. Looking after them makes us feel needed and removes the focus from our own problems. Most of us talk to our dogs. When we share our troubles with them, it helps us work through them. Dogs are excellent listeners and show us how to love life! Nothing beats their wagging tail and unconditional love!

         c. Helping us meet people. Dogs are great for getting us out and meeting people, helping start and maintain new friendships. As well as training classes and clubs, dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks.

         d.Reducing anxiety. Dogs fulfill the basic human need to touch. Stroking and touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we’re stressed or anxious. As well as their companionship, dogs deter intruders, and alert us to any new arrival.

        e. Adding structure and routine to your day. Dogs require regular feeding and exercise. No matter how we are feeling, we have to get out of bed and care for our pet every day. For older people, as well as all the benefits above, caring for a dog can fill the hole created by retirement and/or the children leaving home. It can help start new interests and a new circle of friends. And because dogs encourage playfulness, laughter, and exercise, it can help boost our immune system and increase our energy.

 I also found this interesting…. 

        Dogs and adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia:-

  • As part of the disease, Alzheimer’s patients may exhibit a variety of behavioural problems, many related to an inability to deal with stress.
  • Research at the University of California at Davis concluded that Alzheimer’s patients suffer less stress and have fewer anxious outbursts if there is a dog or cat in the home.
  • Dogs can provide a source of positive, nonverbal communication. The playful interaction and gentle touch from a well-trained, docile dog can help soothe an Alzheimer’s patient and decrease aggressive behaviour.
  • In many cases a dementia sufferer’s difficult behaviour is a reaction to the responses of their caregivers who are feeling stressed themselves. Pets can help ease the stress of caregivers. Dogs are amazing!! Obviously I am biased by my love of my dogs, so we would love to know why your pet is amazing. Do write in and tell us about your pets. And we would love a photo as well!!


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