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Five Health Benefits of Having a Dog

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If you are considering welcoming the first furry friend into your home or simply on the fence about adding on to your existing fur family, it may catch you by surprise to discover the extraordinary – and often overlooked - health benefits of owning a dog. Dogs are proven to be far more than just “man’s best friend” and we’re here to fill you in on what this could mean for your own health journey. 

1) Dogs can improve your physical health

According to the CDC, establishing a regular habit of playtime and dog walking can lead to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Other benefits include decreased stress and anxiety and enhanced cognitive function in older individuals. 

2) Dogs can help you cope 

Many of us have seen service dogs assist individuals with a disability to live more independently, but did you know they can also help people cope? Service dogs can be used to help military veterans manage post-combat symptoms. According to Purina, 500,000 service dogs are actively on duty throughout America and 19% of them are trained to help their owners cope with PTSD. Some common benefits named for veterans with service dogs include decreased reliance on prescribed medication, lower stress and anxiety levels, improved sleep, increased confidence in public places, and a restored sense of daily purpose. In a separate study, 84% of PTSD patients accompanied by a service dog saw a significant drop in their symptoms. 

Studies also show dog owners have increased levels of the love or feel-good hormone known as oxytocin, the same hormone connected to the bond between mothers and their babies.

3) Dogs encourage physical activity

Depending on the breed and age, many types of dogs require moderate daily exercise for at least 30 minutes. However, more active dog breeds can require an hour or longer per day. For their owners this usually equates to making time for play and routine dog walking. This daily task offers an extreme benefit for pet parents as it is a sure way to get in daily exercise, which helps to keep you both in shape!

4) Dogs increase social interactions

As a result of getting outdoors to keep your canine companion active, a dog presents you with more opportunities to socialize with others - which has a positive impact on our long-term health. With the growing number of activities and events specifically designed for dogs and their owners, it has become even easier to meet new people, maintain a healthy social life, and keep those energetic pups entertained! Even if you can’t make it out to organized events, keep in mind many people are able to casually meet neighbors through a simple walk around the block.

5) Dogs provide extra company

Dogs possess a superpower that easily helps us to feel less lonely. For individuals living alone or are age 65 and older, dogs could serve as a great addition to their home for this very reason! Furry friends are wonderful to have around no matter how big or small your family is, there are breeds suited for single living just as well as for large families.

Additionally, an invaluable perk to having a dog is that a canine companion is a gift that keeps on giving. The relationship you create with your dog will serve you in more ways than one could imagine, which will reward you for years on end!

Ready to take advantage of some of the health benefits from having a furry friend? Click here to see all of the parks and trails in Plano that you can visit with your four-legged friend!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.