Pets play an essential part of many people’s lives – and with good reason! Not only can dogs provide companionship, but also many health benefits to their owners. Studies have demonstrated this association between pet ownership and lower stress levels, more physical activity, improved sleep patterns, reduced loneliness and greater happiness levels.
Researchers recently conducted a study which demonstrated that couples who own dogs showed less physical signs of stress when their pup was present compared to control groups without one. Furthermore, those who own dogs also experienced lower resting heart rates and blood pressure levels – all indicators of better cardiovascular health. Petting an animal raises one’s body’s levels of oxytocin, an anxiolytic hormone responsible for bonding relationships and creating positive emotions in humans; people can gain this boost simply by petting or petting an animal or even simply looking into someone’s eyes!
Dogs provide comforting companionship that can aid those suffering from depression, particularly older adults living alone. One study even demonstrated that heart attack and stroke survivors with dogs experienced better mental health outcomes as well as reduced loneliness that has been linked with worsened health outcomes and earlier mortality rates.
Owning a dog encourages physical activity, as most owners must walk their pets frequently. This can help maintain a healthy weight and overall fitness as well as strengthen heart muscles and decrease cholesterol levels.
Socializing with a dog can boost socialization, leading to new friendships and higher self-esteem. Plus, having one is an easy way to meet people; many dog owners regularly interact with others at parks, pet stores and training classes who also own dogs – possibly leading to meeting some new pals!
Pet dogs possess an intuitive understanding of human diseases and other health issues, often sniffing and licking cancerous moles or abnormalities on their owners’ bodies. Dogs can even be trained to detect certain forms of cancer as well as diabetes in their owners.
Cedars-Sinai Hospital’s Barbara Cowen POOCH Volunteer Program utilizes the healing powers of animals through pet therapy to bring comfort and reduce anxiety for hospital patients and visitors. Viewing videos of their own pets helps patients increase comfort levels while simultaneously decreasing stress levels; studies have even indicated it decreases agitated behaviors in Alzheimer’s patients.