They really are (wo)man’s best friend, but dogs are also a script for good mental and physical health, according to Dr Ryan Harvey, Deputy Clinical Director at House Call Doctor. Here he shares five health benefits of owning a dog.
“Dogs can improve your social life”
The human mind is structured in a way where it needs social interactions to survive. Dogs offer great social stimulation for people, whether it’s at home or going out for a walk. Often, when someone is walking their dog, they will interact with other dogs and their owners too.
“Dog owners have healthier hearts than non-dog owners”
A study in Sweden recently determined that dog owners who lived alone had a lower rate of cardiovascular disease and a lower risk of death, due to the social support and motivation for physical activity. They can help you lower your blood pressure and contribute to losing weight.
“Dogs brings more ‘love’ in your life”
Dogs can increase the level of oxytocin in your brain, which is known as the “love hormone”. It’s a neurotransmitter that boosts trust and decreases fear.
“They can be your therapist”
Research shows that therapy dogs can bring relief to people with anxiety, because they induce naturally happy hormones, such as dopamine and beta-endorphins in the brains. They also benefit people’s psychological state by lowering levels of depression and loneliness and increase self-esteem.
“Walking the dog keeps you active, but you don’t see it as exercise”
People find it hard to motivate themselves to exercise. But you walk your dog because you see it as a responsibility and social interactivity.
Dr Ryan Harvey is the Deputy Clinical Director at House Call Doctor. Dr Harvey is highly experienced in paediatrics, and has administered medical care to children living in remote overseas communities. He now works with many families, administering acute care when unexpected medical situations arise overnight.
Caring for Your Dog
If you’re a dog lover or are considering buying or adopting a dog, Caring for Dogs is an online course that educates you on how to choose the right dog and how to keep your best friend happy and healthy.
This course is an excellent resource for households with dogs or for those wanting to work with dogs in a professional capacity, such as dog groomers, dog trainers, dog carers, dog walkers or animal handlers in veterinary care settings.