How Having a Dog Can Improve Your Health

Thinking about getting a dog or already have one as a member of your family? Well good news for you — that pup is likely improving your health in more ways than one.

That’s right — health and wellness isn’t just about eating vegetables and going to the gym. Lifestyle choices such as having a dog can actually have a positive influence on your body and mind.

If you have a dog, you probably already know and understand the special bond that forms between a pet and its owner. There’s nothing like it! Some dogs serve in an official capacity as therapy dogs or emotional support animals for those who need it. However, your pup doesn’t have to be officially trained or licensed in order to serve you in those ways.

According to a Good Morning America article, dogs can in fact improve individuals’ mental health, especially those overcoming a trauma. When an individual has gone through trauma with another person, it can be hard to open up and talk about that situation. But when a dog is in the picture, the nonverbal communication and comfort that pet provides is priceless. 

Even if you haven’t gone through trauma, dogs can help improve your mood and happiness. According to the article, being with a dog can cause “the hormone oxytocin (to be) released, which promotes feelings of love, social bonding and well-being.”

But it’s not just your mental and emotional health that a dog can help improve! The physical side of your health and wellness can also get a positive boost from having a dog.

For starters, a dog makes you get up and move.

"Dogs cause us to get more exercise, to literally get up and get out of our seat and move much more often than when we are living and working in settings where we don't have those animals, therefore physically improving our health," Phil Tedeschi, a human and animal behavioral researcher, said in the GMA article.

And, a recent study from the Mayo Clinic those with dogs are actually at lower risk for cardiovascular disease due to increased activity from having a pet. When you are about your dogs health and keeping him or her active by going on walks or playing at the park, you’re also improving your own cardiovascular health.

That same study showed that dog owners are less likely to be depressed than individuals without dogs due to a more active social life.

So make sure to give your pup a little extra love and appreciation today to recognize the ways they improve your life and health!