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Dogs are essential pets because of the company they provide. The great thing about this companionship is that it helps boost your mental and physical health. The bond and companionship developed makes you feel calm and relaxed, thus boosting your overall health. In this article we will discuss other ways that dogs can improve your mental and physical health.
The bond and companionship developed makes you feel calm and relaxed, thus boosting your overall health.
1. Help reduce anxiety, stress and depression
Spending your time with your dog gives you high levels of comfort and brings in a connection that enhances your mood by minimizing anxiety, stress and depression. The presence of your pet makes your body produce oxytocin. This is a strong neurochemical that helps reduce stress by helping in reduction of Cortisol, which is a stress hormone in your body.
With a dog, you tend to recover faster from stress. When you play with your pet, you also reduce the risks of developing depression because of increased serotonin and dopamine levels that make you feel relaxed and calm. The acceptance, love and attention dogs offer puts you in a good mood, thus boosting your mental health.
2.Enhance your physical fitness
Dogs help boost your physical health as you run and play with them. As you play and run, you burn extra calories and strengthen your muscles and bones. If you walk regularly with your dog, you are likely to attain your exercise requirements.
Other small activities such as jumping, tossing a ball, walking and others help reduce your blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. With the physical activities you engage in with your dog, you also reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity among others.
3. Reduce risks of cardiovascular problems
Dog training involves both physical and mental activities that allow you attain full body fitness. The physical activities you take together with your dog such as walking, playing, hiking and running helps reduce stress, triglycerides and cholesterol. This helps reduce risks of cardiovascular health problems such as coronary ailments, stroke and hypertension.
4.Enhance your self confidence and esteem
Having low self confidence and esteem can have detrimental effects to your overall health. The fact that your dog accepts you and gives you unconditional love helps boost your self esteem and confidence. The feeling of being accepted and loved makes you to hold yourself high.
5.Boost your immune system against allergies
Dogs help you develop strong immunity against allergies. This is not only beneficial to you, but also to your children. Studies have shown that children in homes with dogs that have a lot of fur in their bodies have lower risks of developing common allergic reactions. This is because when the body gets used to fur, other agents that lead to allergic reactions such as grass and dust are less likely to affect you.
6.Assist in management of long term mental health conditions
If you suffer from a long term mental health condition, dogs can help you in the management process. They offer great social and emotional support that distracts the symptoms from affecting you more.
The companionship they offer and time you spend with them playing ensures that you do not focus more on your problems, thus improving your overall well being. If you are recovering from a mental health condition, you will recover faster because of the great company provided by your dog.
If you suffer from a long term mental health condition, dogs can help you in the management process
7.Boost vitality in your life
At older ages you might be at an elevated risk of losing vitality in your life. You might feel weak and mentally disturbed. With dogs on your side you can have more energy. This is because they encourage exercise, laughter, playfulness and other activities that help boost your energy and overall immune system.
Smaller breeds such as Yorkies or Schnauzers make great companions for those who aren’t mobile since these breeds need less exercise to stay healthy. Having a small companion who thinks they own the place tends to elevate the mood in the room. A cute 4-legged companion also encourages more social interaction.
8. Help in weight loss
If you are looking for a great way to lose weight, then dogs can be of great help. When training your dog, you run, jump and engage in other activities that help in burning extra calories and fat from your body.
9. Dogs have the ability to detect terminal illnesses
It has been proven that dogs have the ability to detect certain forms of cancer. While not fully understood, there are many documented cases of someone’s pet dog knowing something was wrong before their owner even goes to a doctor.
Some scientists believe that this ability can be trained to a high degree of accuracy and that certain breeds can be used to screen patients.
The above are just some of the ways that dogs can improve your mental and physical health. Therefore, you need to ensure that you take care of your dogs to ensure they are in perfect health too.
Kevin O’Donnell is a dog enthusiast and dog rescue volunteer. As the webmaster at TheBarkBuzz.com he helps spread valuable information and advice about dog training, nutrition and health. He loves rescuing dogs and playing with his best friend, Buddy (a Japanese Chin/Papillon mix).