7 Reasons Having a Dog Will Improve Your Health, According to Science

Puppy smiling on the grass, dogs can help improve health.

There are plenty of reasons that you may want a dog, from those cute plaid puppy sweaters to the afternoon games of fetch at the park. But, according to science, there are just as many reasons that you should get a dog as there are reasons to want one. Check out seven of the biggest reasons that you ought to add a furry canine companion to your family.

1. They Will Boost Your Heart Health

Having a pup in your life is sure to make your heart feel full, but it’s also going to help keep your heart in tip-top shape. The American Heart Association has found connections between having a dog and experiencing heart-healthy benefits, like lower blood pressure and healthy cholesterol levels.

2. They’ll Help You Lose Weight

A healthy weight may start in the kitchen, but studies show that there’s a big chance it ends in the dog park. Whether it’s through playing a game of frisbee or fetch, or just going for a walk with your pooch, research shows that having a dog helps boost physical activity on a regular basis, which could lead to more calorie burn and better weight maintenance.

3. They’ll Lower Your Stress Levels

Spending quality time with your dog, be it playing outside or cuddling up on the couch during a Netflix binge, has been found to boost the brain’s production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. This in turns helps minimize feelings of stress and boost feelings of happiness.

4. They Can Detect Diseases

While it’s no secret that dog’s sense of smell is far from weak, canine’s have a talent for sniffing out a lot more than lunch. Studies have found that, in addition to service dogs that can help people like epileptics know when a seizure is coming, dogs can actually be trained to detect cancer using things like breath and urine odor.

5. They Reduce Feelings of Loneliness

If you’ve ever suffered from feelings of isolation, dogs may be the secret to alleviation. Studies have found that having a dog can not only increase a person’s sense of belonging, but may also increase self-esteem and help people cope with social rejection better than those who don’t have a pup to come home to.

6. They Could Prevent Allergies

That’s not to say that keeping a pup nearby is necessarily going to stop you from sneezing up a storm at the start of spring, but science does suggest that growing up with a dog can make children less likely to develop allergies into adulthood. This is because when kids are exposed to common allergens growing up – i.e. their pet – they are less likely to be affected by things like asthma or animal allergies when they get older.

7. They Minimize Workday Stress

If you’ve got a dog-friendly office, then you’re in luck: research shows that dog owners who actually bring their pooch to work with them tend to feel less bogged down by work stress throughout the day.

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