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Love of Dogs: Everyday Living

Dog can unleash healthier life for you

For those who are feeling blue or struggling to maintain their health, try this simple remedy: Adopt a dog.

Dog ownership is great medicine for improving and maintaining health, research indicates.

A worldwide study done by The Dogs Trust, the largest dog welfare charity in Great Britain, has found those who own and interact with dogs are healthier than those without pooches in their lives.

The research shows that dog parents make fewer visits to the doctors, have better immune systems and are healthier because they walk more than those without dogs. Owning a dog also can help reduce stress, anxiety and blood pressure, and a loyal companion can help safeguard against depression.

If the reasons in the study are insufficient, consider some of these other benefits of being a dog parent:

  • Daily exercise. You are guaranteed to get it, because your dog will provide the incentive to go out for several walks a day. And when you see how much your best pal enjoys walking, you will want to take even longer strolls. Before you know it, you probably will be walking miles a day and striding your way to better health and enjoying the benefits of being outside in the fresh air.
  • A better social life. Dog parents have a tendency to form instant bonds, because they have a lot in common and conversation flows easily - much in the same way as people with toddlers. Dog parents support each other by talking about everything from health and diet issues to how to find the best pet sitter or kennel. Try going to a dog park and you will be amazed at the ease in which you will make new friends. You also will get to know the neighbors better as you and your pal stroll around the block. Those loner neighbors just seem to find it easier to start conversation with a person walking a dog.
  • Routine and responsibility. Dogs strive on routine. They seem to have a biological clock that goes off when it is time to go out for a walk and eat breakfast, dinner or lunch. And your pal's desire for routine will force you to be more organized and responsible. Those tendencies we all have to dilly-dally will be overcome by your pal's adoring eyes telling you it is time to get on with the day. And this new-found sense of responsibility will likely spill over to other aspects in your life.
  • Loyalty and love. Life may have many uncertainties, but you can be assured that your pal will provide endless loyalty and love. Those qualities are innate to dogs. They exist to please their human counterparts. You have a bad day at work and the car breaks down, forcing you to walk a mile in the rain to get home. What awaits you? A warm greeting and a wagging tail that will melt away the frustrations of the day. Your pal does not care if your clothes are dirty and rain-soaked and you look like a bum. Your dog's adoring eyes only see the person he loves.

The research indicating that dog parents are healthier, happier people should come as no surprise. Our loyal companions force us to get daily exercise, provide our lives with structure and give us emotional support by constantly reassuring us with their love.

So the next time someone complains about their physical or emotional health, give them this prescription: Get a dog.


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