For centuries, dogs have been known as man’s best friend. But, beyond the emotional bond and companionship they provide, studies suggest that owning a dog can also improve human health and longevity. In this article, we explore the scientific research behind the connection between dogs and human longevity, including the physical and mental health benefits of dog ownership.
How Dogs Affect Humans Positively
From reducing stress and lowering blood pressure to increasing physical activity and decreasing risk of heart disease, owning a dog may have a range of positive effects on human health. Additionally, we examine the potential reasons behind this connection, including the social support and motivation that dogs can provide, as well as the positive effects on mental health and stress reduction.
What Research Says
Recent research has also shown that owning a dog can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. A study published in the American Heart Association journal found that dog owners had a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to those who did not own a dog. The study also showed that dog owners had a lower blood pressure and were more physically active than non-owners.
Dogs Encourage Physical Activity in Their Owners
Another study conducted by the University of Missouri found that elderly individuals who owned dogs walked significantly more than those who did not. This increase in physical activity can have a positive impact on overall health and longevity.
Dogs Help Improve Mental Health
In addition to physical health benefits, owning a dog has also been linked to improved mental health. Studies have shown that petting a dog can reduce stress and anxiety, and can even lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Furthermore, dogs have been used as therapy animals to help individuals with mental health conditions such as depression and PTSD. The unconditional love and companionship provided by dogs can be a powerful tool in improving mood and overall well-being.
While owning a dog is not a guarantee for a longer life, the evidence suggests that dogs can play a role in promoting a healthy and fulfilling life. However, it is important to note that owning a dog is a significant responsibility and should not be taken lightly. Potential owners should carefully consider the time, resources, and commitment required to provide proper care for a dog.
Owning a dog has been linked to numerous health benefits, including increased physical activity, reduced stress and anxiety, and a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. While the relationship between dogs and human longevity is still being studied, the evidence suggests that dogs can play a positive role in promoting a healthy and fulfilling life. However, potential owners should carefully consider the responsibilities of dog ownership before making the decision to bring a dog into their lives.