Surprising health benefits that are tied to living with dogs
May 1, 2012
Dogs are already well-known for their loyalty, personality and fun-loving nature, but many pet parents don't know that their canines can actually have a positive effect on their health. According to MyHealthNewsDaily.com, by and large, canine parents are healthier people overall than their dog-free counterparts thanks to an amazing array of abilities that set dogs apart from other household pets. If you've been on the fence about visiting a New York animal shelter and finding a new companion, these benefits could just change your mind.
1. Improved physical activity. In a 2006 study by the University of Victoria, Canadian researchers found that dog parents walked an average of 300 minutes per week compared to non-dog parents who only managed 168 minutes per week. Additionally, dog parents were far more likely to engage in mild to moderate physical activity on a regular basis. Of course, this is also directly tied to a person's willingness to give the dog regular walks, but pet parents are still far more likely to find themselves up and about.
2. The animal bond. Having this kind of companion can begin to improve your mental acuity and sense of responsibility, according to EveryDayHealth.com. Dogs are also extremely sociable animals, so you're far more likely to find yourself at a dog park or in public where you can connect with other people and dog parents.
3. Therapy dogs. Pet visitation programs at hospitals and nursing homes have become a proven method for improving the patients' mental well-being. Dogs have a unique ability to encourage mobility and socialization with other individuals, as well as alleviate a sense of loneliness, according to a 2005 study in the British Medical Journal. The research also found that dog parents have reduced instances of anxiety-related illness and reported reduced stress levels overall.
Adopting a dog is a huge decision, and it may come with many physical, mental and sociological benefits that you didn't know existed. You can find a canine that complements your personality by working with an animal volunteer. NYC has several dogs that are looking for homes, and you'll likely find one that is right for you. The companionship and fun that a new pet brings may be all the incentive you need to give one of these animals a good home.