Dogs are great. Fact. They greet you at the end of a the day with unbridled enthusiasm regardless of whether you are in a foul mood or tired. But to add to their greatness, dogs really can help you with overall wellbeing. Heres just a few reason you should add a dog into your life…
1. Workout buddies
Dogs need exercise. As part of their daily routine most require between one and two hours of exercise. This usually takes place in the form of a walk but you really can tailor this time to whatever you want to do!
Fancy some repeated sprints? Throw the ball and race the dog!
Fancy some uphill power walking? Much more fun with a mutt by your side keeping the pace.
Even during the rainy winter days, your dog will still need to go out. This forces you to get out and about and take some exercise even on days when you really would rather not. Research has shown dog owners are 77% more likely to be achieving the recommended daily targets for exercise. An interesting study from the USA demonstrated significant weight loss achievements for overweight participants simply taking a 20 minute dog walk per day, with feedback from participants stating that they enjoyed the exercise.
2. Immune booster
We tend to live in a very over clean house these days, with our obsession with cleanliness reaching new heights. Whilst we are not advocating living in squalor, a little dirt actually boosts our immune system. It needs challenges to fight off. Fortunately dogs do not quite adhere to our same level of cleanliness and often enter our houses with mud, pond water or other remnants on their fur!
Research has shown living with a dog actually helps our bodies to develop good bacteria within the gut, boosting our immune system and reducing sickness levels. Recent research has demonstrated babies growing up with a dog in the household get sick less often during their first year of life compared to babies without a dog. Additionally these babies went on to develop significantly less allergies in later life compared to controls.
3. Daily happiness
There is an abundance of research demonstrating humans interaction with animals to be effective in raising serotonin and dopamine levels, both hormones associated with happiness and positive feelings. Dogs are highly tuned to human emotions, particularly of those they love, and are often known to provide comfort during times of extreme stress and anxiety in our lives.
As well as the hormonal benefits of living with a dog, simply stroking a dog or spending quiet time with your furry friend can be extremely good for mindfulness and wellbeing.
So as if you needed any more excuses, get out and spend time with your dog! Appreciate that furry little buddy and all they do for you.