The Physical Health Benefits of Getting a Dog

  • Over 60% of American households are homes to roughly 79.7 million dogs, making the U.S. a leader in pet ownership.
  • Regular dog exercise promotes weight management, lowers blood pressure, and improves cardiovascular health.
  • Decreased risk of heart disease, stress relief, and improved mental health are significant benefits of owning a dog.
  • Exposure to dogs boosts immunity, helping children to resist allergies and asthma, and strengthens the gut microbiome.
  • To accommodate a dog, a home needs a secure garden, a comfortable bed, dog-safe areas, and a variety of toys and treats.

Who doesn’t love cuddling with a furry friend? Dogs are adorable and wonderful companions who constantly fill our lives with joy and affection. But did you know that owning a dog can benefit your physical health? Yes, that’s right! The simple act of owning and caring for a dog can lead to improved physical health. Here’s what you need to know about dog ownership in the U.S., the physical benefits of having a dog, and how to prepare your home once you adopt one.

Dog Ownership in The U.S.

It’s estimated that more than 60% of American households have at least one dog. That’s an estimated 79.7 million canines living in American homes! With so many furry friends out there, it’s no surprise that the U.S. is a leader in pet ownership. In fact, according to The Humane Society of the United States, Americans spend more money on their pets than any other country in the world!

Physical Benefits of Owning a Dog

Not only do dogs offer us unconditional love and companionship, but they can also provide physical benefits to their owners. Here are some benefits of having one:

1. Increased Physical Activity

Increasing physical activity is one of the most prominent health benefits of owning a dog. Dogs demand daily exercise, including playing fetch, walking, or running. A study by the University of Victoria found that dog owners take 58% more weekly walks than non-dog owners. These increased physical activity levels can help with weight management, lower blood pressure, and even improve cardiovascular health.

2. Decreased Risk of Heart Disease

Owning a dog can also have a positive impact on your heart health. The American Heart Association states that owning a dog may lower your risk of heart disease. The feeling of petting a dog can lower heart rates and blood pressure levels while also releasing feel-good hormones like oxytocin. Furthermore, dogs can be trained as service animals to help those with heart conditions, like alerting owners to cardiac events.

3. Reduced Stress Levels

Dog owner and dog

If you have ever snuggled up with a dog, you know that they are natural stress-busters. Dogs can help release stress and reduce their owners’ anxiety levels, especially those dealing with mental health issues. As petting a dog releases endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine, playing with your furry companion can reduce your blood pressure and stress levels, leading to a happier, healthier you.

4. Improved Mental Health

Dogs are more than just physical companions. They can be emotional support animals, improving their owners’ mental health and wellbeing. A study by the University of Liverpool found that pet owners, especially dog owners, had better mental health than those who did not own pets. Medical professionals have also found that spending time with a dog can improve mood, decrease symptoms of depression, and provide a sense of purpose.

5. Improved Immunity

Dogs have a lot of bacteria, and while that may sound gross, it can have some health benefits. When exposed to dog fur and drool, children who grow up with dogs are less likely to develop allergies and asthma. Additionally, studies have found that exposure to dogs during infancy can change the gut microbiome of individuals, leading to a stronger immune response.

How to Prepare Your Home

There are some things your fur baby is going to need. Here are four of those things:

A Welcoming Garden

A garden needs a comfortable, shady spot for your dog to rest and play and an area for them to do their business. Secure fencing ensures your pup stays safe and doesn’t wander off. Additionally, your garden must be soft and durable. Consider investing in affordable pallets of sod for a lush, comfortable lawn. These sod can also be used as a play area for your pup.

A Comfy Bed

Your dog will need a comfortable bed to sleep on and curl up in. Look for beds made of durable yet soft materials, such as foam or memory foam. Additionally, consider getting a heather pet bed for those cold winter nights!

Dog-Proofed House

Once you adopt a dog, ensuring your home is safe and free of hazards is important. Take the time to identify potential toxins like detergents or plants, secure wires, and cords, and make sure any furniture can withstand scratches from curious puppies. Also, create an area in your house dedicated to your dog.

Toys & Treats

Dog outdoors and owner

Dogs need mental stimulation, so invest in various toys that can help keep them entertained. Some popular dog toys include treat dispensers, chews, and plush toys. Additionally, stock up on tasty treats for positive reinforcement and reward-based training – these will come in handy when potty-training your pup!

Owning a dog is an enjoyable and rewarding experience that extends well beyond the joy of having a furry friend. Dogs not only enhance your life emotionally and socially, but they also contribute significantly to your physical and mental health. As a dog owner, ensuring your home is ready and safe for your new family member is crucial. Remember, proper love, care, and attention will help your pup grow into a healthy and happy dog.

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