6 Doggone Good Reasons to Get a Dog
Man’s best friend is so much more than a friendly face to greet you when you get home from work. It’s scientifically proven that dogs come with some seriously great health benefits, including lower mortality rates for dog owners (as if you needed yet another reason to snuggle up with an adorable pup!).
So, if you want to get healthy, consider getting a dog. Here are six of the many physical and psychological benefits you’ll receive from having a furry friend.
1. Increased activity
Ready to escape the indoors after a long, cold winter? Dogs are the perfect excuse to get out and about. Walking, running and playing fetch all count as a workout and can keep you and your pooch happy and healthy. In fact, dog owners are almost twice as likely to hit their suggested two and a half hours of physical activity a week and on average walk 22 minutes more per day than those who don’t own a dog. Plus, dog owners tend to be more motivated to maintain a strict adherence to their walking program. It’s less about the drudge of a workout and more about keeping a promise to your pet.
2. Decreased anxiety and depression
Spending time with a four-legged friend can do wonders for your wellbeing. In a recent survey, 74 percent of polled pet owners reported improved mental well-being, thanks to the presence of their pup. The psychological benefits of pet therapy are so well respected that some colleges have added dog visits during finals week to calm students’ nerves before their big tests.
3. Combat allergies
Think your allergies are an excuse to not get a pet? Think again. According to a recent study, dogs could provide a protective effect against asthma even in children and adults allergic to dogs. Another study shares that babies born in a home with a dog could receive extra protection against allergic eczema.
4. Promote social behavior
Moved to a new city and find it hard to make new friends? Let Fido help. It’s easy to connect with other pup parents and engage in social activities like long walks, trips to the dog park or excursions to dog-friendly locations. You already have something in common and a really adorable talking point—your furry friend!
5. Fend off intruders
Thanks to their heightened senses of hearing and smell, dogs can detect dangers long before you might be able to. They’ll cue you that something might be amiss, even when you can’t find any clues. Pups take pride in protecting their loved ones. Plus, research shows that barking dogs can deter burglaries and other attacks.
6. Help your heart
Of course, puppy kisses will warm your heart, but that’s not where the cardiac benefits end. Dogs can actually make your heart stronger. According to the American Heart Association, having a furry friend by your side is linked with lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels—all important factors in maintaining a healthy heart.
Get more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.This is a paid partnership between Independence Blue Cross and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio