We live in a day and age where animal parents are obsessed with their fur-babies, buying them spa treatments and serving up the finest organic treats available in the market. In fact, animals seem to have a higher social media following compared to their human companions. 

Animals not only provide us with unconditional love and companionship, they are also far more loyal than most humans. In addition, having dogs has many benefits for your mental as well as physical wellbeing. 

My brother and I with Kajri and Dullu (Some time around 94 I think)

Let us explore why having furry friends at home is the best thing ever– the benefits of having dogs:

A healthy heart and a happy life

Studies suggest that people who have dogs, eat better and thus have healthier blood sugar levels. And, all of this translates to better cardiovascular health. According to a Harvard study,  people who have canine companions tend to have lower blood pressure, decreased triglyceride and reduced cholesterol levels. Hence, the chances of them having a heart attack are lower and even if they do have a stroke, the chances of them recovering are higher.

Harvard calls it the “pet effect”. The study further suggests that dogs tend to have a calming effect on their humans. Also, dog people tend to get more exercise and hence are healthier.

#FitnessGoals are achievable with five dog walks a day.

Dog people tend to be more physically active– both indoors and outdoors. Their canine friends keep them busy with games of fetch and potty walks all day. Health experts recommend at least two to three hours of exercise for every adult, and a dog person is more likely to achieve this goal. 

Even in old age, dog people are more active and mobile as compared to those without a dog. A report found that older adults with dogs experience lower body mass index, fewer doctor visits, and fewer activities of daily living limitations. 

So, it is safe to say that a few dog-walks a day keeps obesity away!

Better mental health with reduced stress

It’s true– dogs are so good at destressing humans that some of them are professional therapists! Yes, you read that right– there are therapy dogs who help people suffering from PTSD or grief or loss.

So, it goes without saying that canines that are not necessarily trained therapists are also quite helpful when it comes to their human’s mental health. Just spending a few minutes with a dog can help lower anxiety and blood pressure.

Spending time with affectionate dogs can also help increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurochemicals that help people calm down. Many studies show that dogs ease tension and are good for a family’s overall wellbeing.

The added advantage of security

Yet another advantage of having a dog in your home is that they act as substantial deterrents to burglars. Many reports and studies have found that homes with dogs are less prone to theft, burglary or break-ins than ones without any dogs. 

Also, from personal experience, knowing that you have a dog at home– a pet with superior hearing and smell– gives you a sense of security and satisfaction that you are in safe hands. This, again, in turn, helps reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

You may detect a deadly disease sooner rather than later

We all know that dogs have an amazing sense of smell. But, did you know that that sense can actually help detect diseases like cancer sooner? Many dog owners have reported their dog sniffing, nudging or licking spots that later turned out to be tumours or cancer. 

One of the lesser-known benefits of having a dog is that it may even save your life by helping you to detect a fatal disease like cancer sooner. They can also sense viruses, bacteria and other signs of illness in human beings. 

The feel-good factor: Even Science agrees

Anyone who has ever interacted with a friend’s or even just a stranger’s dog will agree that there is something about these furry animals that just brings a smile to our faces. 

So, one can only imagine the magnitude of that magical, euphoric feeling a pet owner feels while bonding with their dogs. Also, know that this is not just in our heads. Locking eyes with your canine companion and gazing lovingly at that adorable face triggers the release of oxytocin— the “feel good” hormone. This calm and happy feeling is 100% natural, not addictive at all, and available to you whenever you want if you have a dog at home. 

So, if you don’t already own a dog, why not adopt one soon! After all, there couldn’t be a better time than now to have a paw-some friend at home for some company.