So are dogs good for your health? Did you know that owning a dog can improve mental health, cardiovascular health and amongst other things reduce the visits you take to your doctor? In recent years research has also suggested that dogs may be able to detect cancer in their owners too, so I would say yes, having a dog is good for your health.
Health benefits for the elderly in owning a dog
Having a dog is known to improve the lives of the elderly, significantly benefiting their health. For an elderly person owning a dog can contribute to them living longer, staying healthier and enjoying their lives.
Walking a dog will keep them physically healthier and more active, having the companionship of a dog can help with their mental well being, keeping the mind more active, and making them feel happier and suffering less with stress related issues which in turn will help lower blood pressure significantly.
Having a dog keeps an elderly person performing daily functions, and sticking to daily routines such as getting out of bed every day and leaving their homes, which they may not do if they are alone. Keeping active physically and emotionally will keep them motivated, and give them an appetite and also help them to sleep better, just through interactions with their pets depression or anxiety can be lowered, and having a dog can also help with dementia, all of these factors can result in fewer trips to the doctors, and a longer and better quality of life.
Check out this article on the healing power of pets for seniors for more information over on the ageingcare.com website. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/benefits-of-elderly-owning-pets-113294.htm
Dogs are great for everyone’s health
It has been proven that dog owners are healthier than non-dog owners in the fact that they tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which helps reduce the chances of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Stroking a dog has been known to reduce blood pressure, and help calm the mind, therapy dogs are proof that dogs have healing benefits as studies have shown that post op patients and the elderly respond better to treatment and seem to recover faster when they are in contact with therapy dogs, and that people with serious illnesses seem to have a greater survival rate if they have the company of a dog or other pets, more so than spending time with their human families and friends.
Also, just getting out on a walk that you would not normally do if you did not own a dog, is a great form of exercise and good for the joints too, and having a willing walking buddy by your side makes it even more enjoyable. I’ve walked all over the place with my dogs and found some great parks and pathways right on my doorstep that I would not have even known existed if it wasn’t for them.
How dogs help with mental health
Dog owners tend to have better mental wellness than people that do not own dogs. A dog offers unconditional love and support so just their presence helps a person that would normally be isolated, whether due to health, disabilities or age to feel less lonely, by offering them companionship and also the sense of feeling safer too. The saying ‘dogs are a man’s best friend’ really is true for a lot of people.
Therapy dogs are used a lot in nursing homes where they visit with the elderly, and taken to hospices to where they can have a positive effect on people that have terminal illnesses.
Check out this article on mental health.org about pets and mental health that explains the benefits of having a dog around for people that suffer with different types of mental illness
Dogs keep us healthy even when we don’t realise it
There are many reasons why some people choose to get dogs and others don’t, reasons against could be that they have allergies to them, or they work long hours so wouldn’t be fair to the dog, others may think they just take too much looking after.
When you make the decision to bring a dog into your life there is a lot of work involved, from training to grooming and walking etc, but look at it from another point of view…..
Walking them gets you out of the house, you get exercise and maybe it gives you the chance to socialise with others. Basic things that you do every day for your dog like feeding, making sure they have fresh water, playing with them, even getting up and down to let them in and out of the garden, are all forms of exercise and constant exercise like this is good for flexibility, not forgetting they do love a good fuss and stroking a dog is great for decreasing stress levels and anxiety, so after a stressful day at work curling up on the sofa with your dog is the best thing you can do.
Dogs, best friend or healthy investment?
The answer to this is both. Having a dog in your life means you will never be lonely, always have someone to talk to and tell your problems to that will never judge you, will curl up on the sofa with you and let you choose the movie, and will always be by your side. A dog brings joy into your life and gives you a self-confidence boost as to your dog, you are the greatest human in the whole world and you cannot do any wrong in their eyes.
They are also one of the healthiest investments you can make for your long term health and well being. Having a canine companion will enrich your life, provide you with daily exercise, and make you smile. Which in turn helps lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety, and it’s not all one sided your dog, in return will be happy and healthy when they have the stability, love and care that their human companion gives back to them.