The Surprising Health Benefits of Dog Ownership

Dog and Owner Connection Benefits

As a dog owner, I can personally vouch for the positive impact dogs have on their humans. After some heavy persuasion from my husband, our family adopted a sweet mutt about a year ago (I needed some convincing, because I was hesitant at the idea of having to clean up after a new puppy!). And now, just as my hubby promised me, I can’t imagine our family without her! I do need to add that the puppy supply offered did contribute to the clean house and relaxed pooch.

Being a health enthusiast, I probably would have considered bringing a pooch home sooner if I realized the many unique ways dogs can benefit people’s lives. In fact, besides being a reliable way of putting smiles on our faces, there are many health perks that come with including a dog in your family. Here are a few surprising health benefits of dog ownership you may not have known about:

Dogs promote a more active lifestyle. It’s in a dog’s nature to exercise, and pet parents can get in on the action not only to bond with their pet, but to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This article suggests finding activities the two of you can do together for mutual benefits – such as taking walks or enjoying a game of chase – rather than those that don’t require your involvement. For example, throwing your dog’s favorite toy for a game of fetch will help him burn off energy, but won’t do much to help you. Why not include yourself by seeing who can get to that toy first after you toss it?

Their sensitive noses are being used to detect cancer in patients. Research from over the last decade suggests that dogs may be able to detect the subtle differences in scent between healthy human tissue and that which has abnormalities such as cancer. As this article from the New York Times points out, this is just one more service to add to the list of health detection skills dogs provide to people—a list which already includes detecting low blood sugar and oncoming seizures.

And they also provide one-of-a-kind therapy to cancer sufferers. Dogs are truly amazing creatures, and can provide emotional support to those coping with cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as physical assistance to those adjusting to life post-treatment. This guide highlights the research that has been done to study the benefits that these special service and therapy dogs offer to patients, and provides information on getting a dog of your own or training your furry friend to help those in need.

They may ward off the development of allergies – really! It may seem illogical, but researchers have found that children who grow up in homes with pets have a reduced risk for developing allergies later on in life. Recent studies suggest that being exposed to allergens early on may help the body build up its defenses against them. Thanks, Rover!

Anyone who has a dog knows just how special these animals are, and what valuable members of our families they become. Knowing that their presence in our lives also comes with an array of health benefits is just one more reason we call them man’s best friend!


Vee Cecil is a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor. Vee is passionate about studying and sharing her findings in wellness through her recently-launched blog.

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