10 Science-Based Benefits of Having a Dog. Sure, many of us know that life is better with a dog. It’s also been scientifically proven to boost your wellbeing—and have potentially been scientifically verified as being even better than love or companionship. Read on for 10 benefits of having a dog.
1. Dogs make us feel less alone.
Dogs are great animals and often offer unconditional love and a sense of security when people can’t be there. This study found that dog ownership is extremely beneficial because it reduces loneliness among elderly or dementia patients. Another study by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that 85% of pet owners who have lived with their pet for up to five years claim that pet ownership acts as an important antidote to social isolation.
2. Dogs are good for your heart.
Studies show that dog owners live longer. A comprehensive review of published studies found that dogs are more than just fun companions. Studies suggest that the bond between humans and dogs improves blood pressure levels and responses to stressors, leading to a markedly lower risk of death. Furthermore, even just living with a dog makes a difference—people who’ve experienced previous coronaries have an even higher chance of survival after a heart attack. Research concluded that this important bond reduces stress, which is at the root of most cardiovascular problems.
3. Dogs help you stop stressing out.
Depending on the size of your pooch, the benefits can vary. In some cases, dogs can help lower blood pressure or heart rate; in others, they support respiration. As with all things related to your wellness, it’s best to speak to a healthcare professional as soon as you feel worried or anxious.
4. Dogs help us cope with crisis
Dogs can quickly transition a person’s mindset to improve their mood and their overall health. Last year, Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine discovered that veterans with PTSD do much better when they have a service dog. Veterans with a service dog had significantly fewer symptoms of PTSD as well as improved coping skills.
5. Dogs encourage you to move.
A 2019 British study discovered that dog owners are nearly four times more likely than non-dog owners to meet daily physical activity guidelines. People with dogs increased their walking by nearly 200 minutes a week after adding a furry friend to the house.
6. Dogs make you more attractive—even virtually.
If you’ve been dating unsuccessfully and want to upgrade, get a dog. A study found that a man’s presence with a dog leads other people to be more attractive and appealing. Men were more likely to get the woman’s phone number when accompanying the dog and women were more likely to swipe right on them when they posted photos of their pooches. A study by Pet Wingman found that men and women both appear happier with their pooch in a profile photo because it increased the likelihood they would get swiped right on. So please, put up your selfie (or, if you’re into dogs, your selfie with your pup).
7. Dogs make us more social.
Pet ownership is a great way to make friends and find community. Think about all the times your pet has made a new friend. In fact, research suggests that almost half of dog owners have made new human friends because of their pup. When you walk your furry companion, you’ll have an easier time making new connections, especially with people who aren’t already familiar with you or your dog. Plus, attachment to pets can help increase feelings of belonging within our communities!
8. Dogs are so adorable they make us love them
There are a lot of reasons why people love dogs. Part of it is their adorable facial features which contain an “infant schema.” These social releasers trigger an innate caregiver response in us. As you’re streaming that video of the cute little puppy on YouTube, know that those big eyes and floppy ears are scientifically appealing.
9. Dogs make us happier
Creating conversation between people who don’t know each other can be difficult. But, when you look your canine companion in the eye, they create a mood of serenity and calm that can go a long way towards reducing stress and anxiety. Today, credible scientific research has found that having a pet helps combat depression in those with AIDS by promoting oxytocin.
10. Dogs help seniors with cognitive function and social interaction
Many people associate dogs with the idea of unconditional love and support. Yet, countless scientific studies have shown that in many cases, dogs take care of us as well. A four-footed best friend provides unconditional love, support, and comfort during tough times. So maybe senior citizens should get a little more exercise, snuggle up with their furry friends and let them help improve their health gradually.