Dogs are amazing creatures. They have been our loyal companions for thousands of years and have adapted to the many tasks we have bred them for. But did you know they offer amazing benefits to our health and happiness too? If you are a dog owner, then you know already the health and well-being benefits reach further into our deeper being. For those not able to own a dog for various reasons, then why not borrow a friend’s, become a doggie-sitter or dog-walker so you too can reap the many benefits our furry friends offer?
1. They provide us with companionship
To dogs, we are their whole life. If they had their way they would spend every moment with us. Most pet parents speak to their dogs and they are great company especially if you live alone. A home without a dog can be a very quiet one! If you do choose to bring a dog into your life, just make sure you respect their need for companionship and not leave them alone for longer than four hours at a time when you can’t be around.
2. They help us heal and provide assistance for the sick, aged and disabled.
Assistance dogs have been trained to undertake tasks that most of us take for granted, but are very difficult for disabled persons. Without these dogs, the quality of life for many would be vastly reduced. In addition to physical tasks, service dogs such as those in pets as therapy, provide therapeutic visits and comfort to those in hospitals, care homes, and special needs’ schools. Dogs have an innate desire to connect with us and understand our human needs.
3. They help keep us healthy
Daily exercise and play time are an essential part of a dog’s health requirements both physically and mentally. Ensuring your dog’s needs are met, in turn, helps us burn unwanted calories as well as offering us an opportunity to connect with nature when we walk them. Stroking a dog produces the feel-good hormone serotonin which reduces stress and lowers blood pressure, and it’s been clinically proven that dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression.
4. They make us more sociable
There is no getting away from engaging with other people when you have a dog. Most people are naturally drawn towards dogs even if they are not dog owners themselves. Just try walking down a street without someone stopping you from saying hello to your dog! Dogs are great for helping us meet new people, and help those who are shy or find it difficult to communicate or engage with others.
5. They love us just for who we are.
The love of a dog is unconditional. A dog will never judge based on what you look like or how much money you have. They love you for who you are and not what you have. They give us 100% devotion. Your dog will always be there for you; they truly are our best friends.
6. They address our need to nurture
Most of us are born with a need to nurture. Mother Nature has provided us with innate parental instincts. Caring for a dog gives us a sense of purpose and a desire to protect and show love to our furry babies.
7. They make us smile and laugh
We are all aware of how the power of a smile and laughter can lift your mood. There is not a morning I wake up and don’t smile when I see my dogs. Dogs’ cute faces, playfulness, and unconditional love puts a smile on most pet parent’s faces. When out with your dog, I bet when others pass you, they smile at your dog! It’s a special gift that dogs have and one that is super-beneficial for humans!
So there you are. Dogs bring us untold happiness and health benefits. If you are fortunate enough to have a dog in your life please repay the gifts these wonderful creatures give us by providing them with a healthy, loving, happy home and the devotion they deserve in return.
This article was a contributed feature on AgeProof Living, the holistic lifestyle site http://ageproofliving.com/pets-as-therapy-happier