The concept of a dog boosting wellness seems like a win-win scenario, and it is. These cute furry friends can actually boost your wellness both physically and mentally by affecting you and your health in little ways that stack up to big effects. Here are seven ways that dogs can impact your quality of life.
1. They Cure Loneliness.
Dogs are often also called furry companions; that is because they actually have been shown to decrease someone's feelings of loneliness.1 Plus, dogs are also intuitive and can typically sense when their owners are upset, sad or scared and are there for them.
2. They Get You Moving.
Exercise in any form is an important part of well-being. Dogs help to get us up and moving around whether walking them outside or playing with them indoors. It is especially hard to get outside or get moving when the cold weather hits, but typically our dogs can get us to go outside and walk around at least once a day.
3. They Boost Sleep.
Dogs tend to stick to an internal clock better than most people; therefore, they keep us on a good sleeping schedule. Most dogs have a schedule of when they wake up, when they eat, when they walk, etc. So, they keep you more accountable for your sleep schedule, and having a dog in your bedroom is shown not to disrupt your own sleeping.2
4. They Relieve Allergies.
While it may seem a bit surprising, studies have shown how infants and children that grow up with dogs and cats are less likely to develop an allergy to them later in life.3
5. They Reduce Stress.
Petting or just having contact with your dog is shown to increase oxytocin levels and reduce stress.4 As a bonus, having contact with your dog like hugging, holding or petting them also helps to reduce their stress levels.
6. They Give You Purpose.
Taking care of a dog gives you someone to take care of. This animal depends on you to feed them, let them out, take them for walks and so much more. Thus, you being needed provides a purpose for you.
7. They Strengthen Our Microbiome.
When dogs come into our homes, they introduce different bacteria, viruses and fungi that help diversify our microbiome.5 These different microbes may actually be working to keep us healthy by lowering our risk of autoimmune diseases.