The health benefits of having a dog

Having a pet dog is very good for your health in a variety of ways.

Humans have had pet canines for thousands of years, and there's a reason why this perennial "world's best pet" is human's best friend around the world. In fact, 47 percent of households in the U.S. own at least one dog. Everyone that has a pet dog knows that they're loyal, loving creatures that are always happy to see you when you get home. And recent research furthers the cause of having a pet dog – as it turns out, whether you're a child, adult or senior, there are some major benefits of having a pooch by your side. Aside from an abundance of love and loyalty, here are some of the reasons that dog ownership is good for your health:

  • Get more exercise. As a dog-owner, you'll get a great workout every day by taking your little Fido out on his walks.
  • Live longer. Research has shown that people with dogs tend to live longer than others, which is likely due to the fact that they get more exercise than others and gain the emotional benefits of having a pet.
  • Stave off loneliness. Dogs as companions can help us feel less lonely. This is especially important for people who live alone, such as seniors, according to recent research. Aside from being good company, pets can also help you meet new people. Dogs serve as an easy topic of conversation: when you are out walking your dog, people are more likely to come up and talk to you, and if you go to parks you can meet other dog owners. The reduction of loneliness is a very important benefit because loneliness has been shown to decrease overall health and longevity.
  • Keep your heart healthy. Though surprising, research has shown that simply petting and talking to a dog or cat can lower one's blood pressure noticeably. Petting an animal can induce relaxation and calm people, which is why dogs are often used in hospitals as therapy animals.
  • Learn empathy. Having a pet dog can teach children empathy. It allows them to learn to care for something and recognize others' needs if they are involved in the feeding, brushing and other care of the animal.

If you're considering adopting a pet, make sure you will have ample time and energy to care for that animal first, but know that, aside from being loved on by a furry friend, you'll benefit in so many other ways.

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