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5 Reasons Why Having a Dog Boosts Your Health

fResearch is finding more and more reasons why owning a dog has a positive effect on our health

5 Reasons Why Having a Dog Boosts Your Health

It is estimated that 70-80 million dogs are a part of a home across the United States, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Moreover, about 37-47% households in the United States have a dog. From a companion that gives us unconditional love to an excellent exercise buddy, we are finding more and more reasons why owning a dog has a positive effect on our health.

1.Physical Activity

More than any other household pet, dogs are likely to beg for a walk or playtime outdoors, encouraging owners to get out and get moving with their pup. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information's PubMed, dog owners engage in more overall walking and physical activity than non-dog walkers. The study found that dog owners achieved 57-77% more physical activity than non-dog owners.

2.Allergy Fighter

Having a dog may trigger allergic reactions in some people, but according to a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study, children growing up in homes with pets will have less risk of developing allergies, wheezing and asthma, despite opposing beliefs. This phenomenon is attributed to their regular exposure to microorganisms present in farm soil. The early exposure may have a protective effect by shaping children's immune responses, a finding that researchers say may help inform preventive strategies for allergies and wheezing, both precursors to asthma.

3.Beneficial in The Treatment of Individuals with Dementia

Therapy dogs have long been used to assist the physically handicapped, but now, dogs are increasingly becoming more common in the treatment of individuals with dementia-related disorders. According to the Alzheimer's Project, research has shown that people with dementia recognize a pet in the environment as friendly and non-threatening. Studies have shown that individuals with dementia display more interactive behavior when surrounded by a furry companion, although these behaviors are directed toward the pet rather than to humans. Dogs have been proven to reduce agitation and increase pleasure and exercise, an activity dementia patients usually lack. It has been proven that dementia patients eat more following the visit of a therapy animal and it has even been correlated to lower blood pressure and increased odds of survival after a heart attack.

4.Curbs Depression

People who own dogs are less likely to suffer from depression. Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression. Studies have shown that animals can reduce tension and improve mood in some individuals. Experts say that by adding the responsibility of owning a pet to your busy life may help reduce the feeling of being depressed. It is said to add a positive focus to your life because taking care of a dog can help give you a sense of your own value and importance.

5.Lowers Blood Pressure

According to recent research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information's PubMed, talking to and petting a dog are accompanied with lower blood pressure. The results of the study revealed that a subject's blood pressure levels were lowest during dog petting, higher while talking to the dog, and highest while talking to the experimenters. The subject's heart rates were lower while talking or touching the dog and higher while both touching and talking to the dog. In the study, touching appeared to be a major component of the pet effect, while cognitive factors contributed to a lesser degree.

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