The science behind the health benefits of owning a dog

Dogs aren’t just a cute companion. They help reduce stress, boost our self-esteem and even help us make new (human) friends.

The science behind the health benefits of owning a dog
A dog is human’s best friend. And there’s science to back up why they’re a best friend you’ll want to keep in your circle. If you're an animal lover, you already know that the mere presence of our furry friends can make any day better. But did you know there are haps physical, emotional and physiological benefits to owning a dog?
Key Takeouts
🐶 Help reduces stress, anxiety and blood pressure 🐶 Provide companionship and decrease feeling of loneliness 🐶 Help you feel calmer and happier 🐶 Walking prompts social interactions 🐶 Keeps us more active and in nature
Even if you don’t own a dog, you only need to spend 30 minutes with tpooch to reap the myriad of benefits.

1. Dogs reduce stress

The simple act of petting your furry friend can reduce cortisol levels. One study shows that interacting with pets significantly increases levels of oxytocin, the "feel-good" hormone, in the human body. This hormone is linked with emotional bonding and stress reduction, helping to calm your nervous system and relax. Another study found that 75% of dog owners felt less stressed since owning a dog.
“The human-animal bond bypasses the intellect and goes straight to the heart and emotions and nurtures us in ways that nothing else can.”
Author and animal expert Karen Winegar, New York Times

2. Dogs boost self-esteem and confidence

A dogs love is unconditional. They love you for who you are. They’re non-judgemental. And they’re also pretty good listeners. A study by found that 78% of UK dog owners saw an increase in their self-esteem since caring for a dog, and a further 59% said that the confidence boost extended to the workplace.

3. Dogs keep us active (and outdoors)

Dogs need a daily walk. Which means you’re also keeping active as a result of your dogs’ routine. One study shows that dog owners are 34% more likely to meet the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week compared to non-dog owners. Plus, it means you’ll be exposed to the benefits of nature for at least 30 minutes a day, which is great for lowering cortisol levels and boosting happiness. Being active is also great for your heart health. Pet ownership is linked with lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease.

4. Dogs provides companionship

Pets offer an invaluable source of companionship, which is particularly significant for those living alone or experiencing life changes. A study from the University of York found that pet ownership can reduce feelings of loneliness. The study highlighted that pets fill the emotional gap in our lives and provide a form of companionship that is less susceptible to emotional or circumstantial fluctuations.

5. Dogs boost your mood and happiness

Have you ever noticed that you feel happier around your pets? Just spending half an hour with a dog can make you feel happier and less stressed. There are so many health benefits to owning a dog that when you spend time with them you feel content, happy and loved. Cuddling with your furry friend can boost your mood, confidence and content with life (source).

6. Dogs act as social catalysts

Dogs naturally facilitate social engagement. Whether thats meeting fellow dog owners on your regular walking route, or being stopped by a dog-lover on the tube - meeting new people through your dog is inevitable. Human connection is critical for our health and and a dog can be your perfect wingman - especially in London or if you work from home!

7. Dogs help with children’s development

Dogs are not just a source of joy and companionship for adults; they offer fantastic developmental benefits for children as well. Interacting with a pet can teach kids valuable life skills like empathy, responsibility, and communication. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who grow up with dogs are generally more active and benefit from emotional support from the companionship of a dog.
Whether it's their unwavering loyalty, wagging tails or puppy-dog eyes, pets offer us more than just companionship—they offer us a better quality of life backed by science. From reducing stress to encouraging physical exercise and boosting our self-esteem, pets indeed make our lives richer in more ways than one.

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