National Dog Day: The benefits of having a furry friend
Wednesday 26th August is National Dog Day, which celebrates all things canine. Having a dog can be beneficial for your health in many different ways, from lowering your stress levels to reducing blood pressure – it’s no wonder they’re called “man’s best friend”!
Before reading this and running out to get a dog, don’t forget they take a lot of time and effort, they can cost a considerable amount and are a lifetime commitment. If you are thinking about getting a dog, consider how they would work into your routine and make sure you do your research into different breeds and their personalities – especially if you have young children.
Owning a dog encourages you to exercise
Finding the motivation to exercise can be hard sometimes, whereas having a dog encourages you to walk more not just for your health, but for theirs too. Walking your dog is essential for their physical and mental health. Keeping them cooped up inside all day can increase their chances of becoming obese or lead to behaviour issues. Just like you and me, they want to get out there and explore the world.
Dogs can lower stress levels
Maybe it’s their loving faces, soft furry coats or their ability to make us laugh without saying a word. Dogs have a knack for making us feel relaxed in a way that sometimes human interactions can’t. When playing or petting a dog it can release the hormone oxytocin helping us to de-stress and feel calmer.
They help you become more sociable
Becoming more sociable is great for your mental health and helps build lasting bonds. This is especially important for elderly people who might be experiencing loneliness and feelings of isolation. From saying “hello” to other dog walkers to meeting new people at dog training classes, dogs help to keep you talking. They’re also always a hot topic between friends, family, colleagues and even strangers on the street!
Dogs help reduce blood pressure
Studies have shown that dog owners have lower resting heart rates and blood pressure than those without them. This can be from getting regular exercise and feeling calming experiences with a dog. Now that’s puppy power!
Dogs can enhance childhood
Children that grow up with dogs can benefit from the lessons they can teach them, for instance, responsibility, compassion, patience, empathy and bereavement. Also they can help reduce a child’s anxiety and loneliness, making for great companions.