10 Surprising Health Benefits of Being a Dog Owner

In the midst of annual vaccinations and quarterly trips to the vets, the combination of “health benefits” and “dogs” might sound a little far-fetched.

However, we’re not talking about the canines themselves here, rather than the health benefits you can experience just by owning a dog.

happy and healthy couple with a labrador

You may constantly be clockwatching and wondering if Rover has been on his own too long for the day, or going beside yourself due to his over-the-top postman alert that he leaps into every morning, but don’t for a second think that dogs do anything but good for your health.

As well as the obvious happiness factors, we have found ten issues that can benefit your health just by residing with a dog.


They Can Save You From Cancer

lab sniffing

We said that the benefits would be surprising, and they don’t come much more surprising than this first one. That’s right, it’s understood that dogs can detect cancer.

This might seem like some pie-in-the-sky sort of claim, but there have been several mild studies conducted which suggest that it’s completely true.

Several years ago, a Labrador going by the name of Panda managed to detect colorectal cancer in 33 out of 37 breath and stool samples. Not only this, he was able to detect the cancer in the early stages and subsequently, make himself a life saver.

We’re not too sure just how dogs are able to do this, but we’ve been made aware of this superpower since around 1989.

Back then it surrounded a case study of a dog sniffing and attempt to bite off a mole on a woman’s leg – which later turned out to be cancerous. Only time will tell just how they manage to detect the signs but for now, we’re left thoroughly impressed.


They Keep us on The Move

active dog

The first point may have knocked you for six, so we’ll now focus on something a little more expected. It’s a well-known fact that dogs require exercise and as such, we’re forced to stay active as well.

Most of us will take this at face value – it’s completely obvious. For the odd one or two who are sat on the fence, we will at least point you towards some scientific proof.

In 2006 a study by the University of Victoria showed that while the average person walked 168 minutes per week, dog owners walked an average of 300. Even though the typical owner might walk their dog a maximum of three times a week, it still prompts much more activeness than the dog-free life.


They Are a Godsend For Diabetes Sufferers (Current or Future)

winking dog

If we return to some of the direct health benefits, as well as their cancer-finding qualities a lot of dogs have displayed the ability to detect low blood sugar levels.

This has even been reflected in the British Medical Journal, with this highlighting that over one third of dogs who reside with diabetic owners act differently when the person’s blood sugar levels fall.

This is again ground-breaking stuff – as most of the dogs were displaying these “strange” signs before their owners even realized the levels had dropped themselves.

Again, nobody knows just quite why they do this, although scientists believe that it could be the detection of small muscle tremors which the typical human won’t see.


They Fasten The Recovery Process

dog in a hospital

A lot of hospitals are starting to use pet visitation programs and it’s for one reason and one reason only; dogs have also been proven to make it much easier for a person to recover from illness.

Their active nature encourages mobility, while they offer something different to the typical human which prompts socialization.

Amongst the elderly in particular, the results from these visits have been extraordinary – with the British Medical Journal again backing up the claims following a review in 2005.


They Can Sniff Out Allergens in a Flash

http://hdwallpapercorner.com/gallery/7099-dog-sniffing-tulips-flowers-800x600.jpg allergens

Admittedly, this next health benefit doesn’t come from puppyhood – dogs have to be rigorously trained to be able to perform this.

It’s a well-known fact that some dogs are able to sniff out drugs and other illegal substances, but few realize that this knack can stretch right the way to foods their owner is allergic to.

For example, some dogs at the Florida Canine Academy have been trained to react if they detect any peanuts in a room.

Again, this can be an absolute life-saving piece of information, with some people literally being unable to be in the same room as peanuts due to the “contaminated” air.


They Can Minimize The Chances of Eczema

boys with dog

This next benefit is also surprising, as the general consensus is that dogs prompt skin allergies such as eczema. However, if recent studies conducted in 2011 are to be believed, they can be a factor that reduces the chances of the condition occurring.

The Journal of Pediatrics published the findings, after assessing 636 children. It was found that those who lived with a dog had a much lower rate of eczema, while even those that were sensitive to canine allergies did not increase their risk of the problem.


They Can be Your Medical Aid During a Seizure


Again, this next benefit might not apply to every dog in the land – but those that have been trained accordingly have been known to detect seizures before they even begin.

As such, their owners can take any blocking medication in good time, or just position themselves so that they can have easy access to medical assistance.

Admittedly, the science behind this benefit is quite thin at the moment. The fact that several organizations train dogs to react to subtle behavioral changes, which often occur prior to a seizure, suggests that it’s very likely to be true though.


You’ll Become Much More Sociable

sociable women with a dog

A common rule amongst dog owners is to at least acknowledge anyone else out on a walk with their canine friend.

As such, owning a dog is just generally sociable and can make us all much more interactive. In fact, some sources have compared owning a dog to human friendship, it’s something that just prompts greater communication with others and this just makes us that little bit happier.


They Mimic Your Personality

dogs mimic your personality

Most people have speculated about this for a while, but a study carried out in the UK has proven that there is a correlation between your personality and what type of dog you own. For example, those that own a toy dog like a Chihuahua were seen as more intelligent.

However, this works both ways and dogs have been known to mimic their owner’s personalities – which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your traits!


They Make us Happy


We’ll end the article on something that we have all come to know and understand – dogs just make us happy. It’s the reason we have them in our lives and this isn’t just based on myths.

Again, medical studies have proven to it, with dog owners less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t have one in the house.

Their active nature, routine and general interaction makes us all happier – with scientists finding that it increases the Oxytocin chemical in our brain which is charged with making us feel good.

Try and reciprocate! Learn How to make your dog happier !

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Professional Health and Fitness Coach,
(Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Nutrition Specialist)

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