Dogs became mans best friend and originally provided protection to early humans, now our relationship with our canine pals has deeply evolved into a much more beneficial relationship for both, dog and owner. Here we will discuss the impact that pet ownership has on not only our physical health, but our emotional, and social health too. Anyone who has a pet will already know, that just patting your dog can be calming and soothing, but the benefits don’t stop there. Now, science is proving these theories and the evidence goes to show the impact our furry friends have on our overall health and wellbeing.
For example, therapy dogs have become more and more recognised, known as AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) and are proven to significantly reduce the levels of stress and anxiety in people suffering with mood disorders, social anxiety and disabilities. This is most evident in the elderly and the young. Children who suffer from learning disorders, sensory issues, and anxiety, such as Autism and ADHD have shown significant improvement and attention stability from being with dogs. They can have a calming affect and improve interactions and empathy in children who otherwise struggle in these areas. Amazingly, the presence of a pet can dramatically reduce the stress hormone that is produced called cortisol. In Autistic children this hormone drops from 58 percent to just 10 percent in the company of a service dog. For the elderly, a common issue is loneliness, this alone can develop into a much more emotional and psychological issues such as depression. Dogs make great companions for those who have no family or outside interactions. It has been said that Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients also benefit from owning a dog, as when suffering from bouts of agitation or confusion, dogs can calm them down and relieve stress. Also, having a pet that requires feeding is a great way to encourage an
appetite in the elderly, cleverly reminding them of meal times.
Dogs are not only beneficial to young children and elderly people suffering from various disabilities and disorders, but they have a huge impact on the rest of us. Owning a dog encourages exercise which in turn, improves our cardiovascular health. A simple daily walk with your four legged friend is
enough to reduce blood pressure, meaning dog owners are less likely to get heart disease than nonpet owners. If you need some more convincing, pet owners are less likely to suffer with colds or the flu, meaning less visits to the doctors. Many studies suggest this is thanks to our pets ability to improve our immune system. So, not only do our friends reduce our overall stress levels, they make us happier and healthier too. Perhaps one of the most advanced ways in which dogs can help humans is their ability to be trained to detect forms of cancer and even seizures before they happen. There are multiple stories of owners being alerted to these problems way before a medical diagnosis, and in many cases, saving lives. It just goes to show, that the ways in which dogs can help humans is endless and quite remarkable.
How awesome are dogs! Protecting, caring, and looking out for us, and all they want in return is our love and affection. The relationship between dogs and humans has always been a special one, and now with more studies being performed, it’s clearer than ever. And the great thing is, just as we
benefit from our pets, they benefit too. It’s a win win situation for everyone!