Feel-good benefits from a dog!
While it comes as no surprise to dog owners, several recent reports support the emotional and physical benefits to owning a dog.
Per Amy Kraft, CBS News, a new report from Harvard Medical School found that “having a dog can reduce a person’s blood pressure and help people lose weight.” (If Pet Parents are providing daily dog walks, then the increased activity can be correlated to a drop in weight).
The report author Dr. Elizabeth Frates says “owning a dog can also have many psychological benefits, such as reducing loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression.”
“When a dog owner looks into a dog’s eyes and pets the dog, the owner will release oxytocin, the love hormone,” she told CBS News. Dr. Frates also noted that petting a dog can reduce a person’s cortisol levels, which reduces stress.
Tia Ghose, staff writer for Live Science, takes that “loving feeling” one step further by expanding on the importance of oxytocin and its role in our relationships. She reports that another key element of oxytocin is to help a parent and infant bond.
The bonding process, via oxytocin release, occurs in both the animal and human world.
Per Tia’s article; “when rodent pups are separated from their moms, they emit a series of ultrasonic noises that spur moms to release more oxytocin and to scoop up their pups and behave in a more nurturing way. This, in turn, leads to the release of more oxytocin and, as a result, more attachment behavior in pups”
The same nurturing response also helps human mothers and their babies bond, beginning at infancy via eye gaze.
Further support of the health benefits to owning a dog, was cited by the American Heart Association following previous research that discovered pet ownership was associated with fewer heart disease risk factors.
While the benefits to owning a dog can improve our health and wellness, not everyone is able to own a dog.
If you are “pet-less” and need a healthy dose of dog, consider cage-free dog boarding in your home (come work for us!) or volunteer at a local animal shelter.
It’s good for you and doubly good for the dogs!
photo credit: hun255 @ freedigitalphotos.net