As a way to de-stress, Chapman University hosts a program called Furry Friends for Finals, in which students can pet one of ten puppies stationed outside the library the week before finals. Petting and playing with puppies has been found to enhance levels of serotonin and dopamine, two “feel-good” hormones that can help reduce stress and improve memory and focus.
According to fossil data, dog domestication began around 15,000 years ago. Dogs benefited from our upright gait, color vision, and tool use by living alongside humans, which assured that they had access to food.
Dog companionship provided security, warmth, a keen sense of smell, and acute hearing to humans. Here are some reasons why living among our furry, canine pals may be healthier than converting to gluten-free bread in today’s world.
1. Dogs can help you get in shape.
Dog owners are more likely to achieve their fitness objectives than those who do not have canine friends, according to the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Researchers from Michigan State University discovered that dog owners are 34% more likely than non-dog owners to get in 150 minutes of walking per week. The study also discovered that having a dog improves your health and fitness long after you’ve taken your dog for a walk, with 69 percent more leisure-time physical activity.
Walking with a puppy increases walking speed by 28 percent, compared to merely 4 percent when walking with a human companion, according to a University of Missouri study.
Dog walkers not only get more exercise, but they also get better quality exercise (going quicker and maybe covering more mileage) than persons who walk or run alone. Dog walkers are also more likely than those who walk with other humans or alone to keep to their fitness routines.
Teens from dog-owning families are more physically active than teens from families without a pet dog, according to a study from the University of Virginia. With increased rates of childhood obesity, having a dog may provide an incentive for children to go out of the house and spend more time outside, resulting in improved fitness and, as a result, a lower risk of disease later in life.
2. Dogs can aid in the prevention of chronic disease.
According to exercise scientist Cindy Lentino, dog owners who walk their pets on a daily basis had a one-third lower risk of diabetes than those who do not own a dog. Rather than focusing just on diet as the primary cause, this data emphasizes the necessity of maintaining physical activity levels and regulating stress levels as a strategy of preventing the onset of type II diabetes.
In children, dogs help to avoid autoimmune illness and allergies. Children from families with a history of allergies are less likely to develop eczema and asthma (atopy) if they grow up with a pet dog from birth, according to researchers at the University of Cinncinati College of Medicine.
Given that animals are often “dirtier” than humans, this study supports the Hygiene Hypothesis, which claims that the more dirt children are exposed to as children, the less likely they are to develop autoimmune illnesses and allergies.
3. Dogs can help with mental health and social interaction.
When a dog is present in a collaborative group environment, group members rate their teammates higher in terms of trust, team cohesion, and intimacy, according to Central Michigan University researchers.
Human connections benefit from having a close bond with a dog. Owning and walking a dog has been shown to promote social contact in studies. According to Nadine Kaslow, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, dogs can assist people overcome social isolation or shyness.
According to child psychologist Robert Bierer, children who have cared for a dog have higher levels of empathy and self-esteem than children who do not have pets. When compared to children who did not read to a dog, children who practiced reading to a dog saw a 12 percent gain in reading skills over a 10-week period (who showed no improvement).
AIDS patients who have dogs are considerably less likely to be depressed than those who do not have pets. According to researcher Judith Siegel, PhD, “the effect is most obvious when people are strongly devoted to their pets.” Petting and playing with a dog has been demonstrated to boost serotonin and dopamine levels.
4. Dogs can assist in the management of chronic diseases.
Dogs may help persons with dementia improve their social behavior while also reducing agitation and anxiety, according to research. A “therapy dog” visit to the hospital animates patients, encouraging them to become more active and responsive while providing a pleasant respite from pain or loneliness.
When recovering from surgery, those who petted dogs on a regular basis need 50% less pain medication, according to Loyola University researchers. People with fibromyalgia may benefit from owning a dog or participating in “pet therapy.”
Dog owners had a greater one-year survival rate following a heart attack than non-dog owners, according to a study from the National Institutes of Health. Male pet owners have lower triglyceride and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels than non-owners, indicating a lower risk of heart disease. Petting a dog has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure.
Stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful conditions than those who did not have pets, according to one study. According to a UCLA study, senior dog owners require 20% less medical care than non-dog owners.
Exercise and friendship can be obtained by walking a dog or simply caring for a pet. As part of their medical screening, Midland Life Insurance Company asks clients over the age of 75 if they have a pet. They may have to pay less for health insurance if they have a pet.
Owning a pet may be healthier than the kale and quinoa meal you just ate, according to these facts.
This material is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent disease, and it should not be used in place of medical advice.