Man’s best friend offers more than companionship

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By Paula Dispa

Cooling down after her workout, Regina Dispa, 11, takes her dog on a stroll around the neighborhood. Photo by Paula Dispa
Cooling down after her workout, Regina Dispa, 11, takes her dog on a stroll around the neighborhood. Photo by Paula Dispa

From cuddling with them on the couch to going on walks to the park, “dogs are a man’s best friend,” or so the saying goes; however, they benefit dog owners more than they think.

Stress levels will go down. According to Animal Smart, dogs help reduce stress. By playing with them, petting them, or simply watching them, dogs can reduce stress each day. Research also shows that dog ownership reduces stress hormones, and the effects usually outweigh the stress caused by caring for a dog.

Having a dog will also automatically motivate an owner to exercise more. One of the many highlights in a dog’s day is going on a walk, marking territory every step of the way. Taking Fido out for a sunny walk to the park or just strolling around the neighborhood makes the owner get out of the house for a little while. Endorphins are released while exercising which also makes dog owners happier.

Dogs are great for sparking an easy conversation and meeting new people. An owner’s social life can improve due to the easy approachable aura dogs give. A stranger might be more enticed to talk to an individual with an energetic, furry puppy than a stranger who is alone. Going to the dog park or taking the dog along to run errands can also lead to strangers striking up conversations about the dog. Yet, be wary of leaving the dog in the car on a hot day since the temperatures heat up quickly, leaving the dog completely helpless and in danger of getting a heat stroke.

Studies from Animal Smart have shown that petting a dog also lowers an individual’s heart rate. Therefore, dog owners are more likely to have healthier hearts. In fact, dog owners are much more likely to survive a heart attack compared to non-dog owners. Some colleges, such as UNLV and Nevada State, bring in dogs to reduce student anxiety during finals.

Surprisingly, the benefits of dog ownership extend to mental health as well. According to the article “Mood-Boosting Power of Dogs,” dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. Caring for a dog helps relieve symptoms of depression and encourages people to be more positive. Also, according to Daily Life, in recent years, man’s favorite four-legged accomplice—the dog—has been shown to provide life-altering advantages to those who struggle with PTSD symptoms.

Dogs are also an effective home security system. Barking dogs can deter burglars. In addition, just knowing that a dog can use its keen sense of hearing to detect anyone prowling around helps increase a sense of security.

Having a dog overall makes individuals better human beings. The commitment of taking care of another human life teaches responsibility, commitment, patience, and a new kind of love.