Sunday, November 13, 2011
Life is BETTER with a dog...literally!
Most dog owners don't need reminding, dogs make people feel good!! But, we're talking about more than feeling glad they're around. Your favorite animal can make you healthy and help you stay that way. You may be surprised at just how many ways a pet can improve your health.
Dogs are natural mood enhancers. Did you know it only takes 15 to 30 minutes with a dog to feel less anxious and less stressed? Your body actually goes through physical changes in that length of time that make a difference in your mood. The level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered. The production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased. Reducing stress saves your body wear and tear!
Keep your blood pressure in check. You still have to watch your weight and exercise, but having a pet can help you manage your blood pressure. In one study of 240 married couples, pet owners had lower blood pressure and lower heart rates during rest than people who did not own a pet. That held true whether they were at rest or undergoing stress tests. Another study showed that children with hypertension lowered their blood pressure while petting their dog.
Pet an animal to fight depression. Therapists have been known to prescribe a dog as a way of dealing with a recovering from depression. No one loves you more unconditionally than your pet. A dog will listen to you talk for as long as you want to talk. Petting a dog has a calming effect. Taking care of a dog, walking with it, grooming it, and playing with it takes you out of yourself and helps you feel better about the way you spend your time.
More interaction and less isolation. One key to a healthy mind is staying engaged with others. Dog owners have tendency to want to talk with other pet owners. A dog is a conversation waiting to happen. People, especially other people with dogs, will stop and talk with you when they see you walking your pet. Visiting a dog park lets you socialize with other owners while your dog socializes with other dogs.
Fewer allergies and stronger immunity. Researchers have noted that when children grow up in a home with a dog they are less likely to develop allergies. The same is true for kids who live on a farm with large animals. In addition, they have higher levels of certain immune system chemicals indicate a stronger immune system activation, which will help keep them healthy as they get older.