The Health and Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog – Katie Couric MediaThe Health and Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog – Katie Couric Media

Dogs are four-legged forces for good. Now, there’s science to back up why adopting one can improve your life.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “dogs are man’s best friend. ” As it turns out, when it comes to what dogs can do for us, “best friend” may not even be the half of it. Most dog lovers know that there is no better feeling than being greeted at the end of a long day by a tail-wagging bundle associated with love. But when the pandemic hit, pet owners entered a new phase involving even more time with their furry companions — and 90 percent regarding pet parents say they want to keep upward that increased quality time. While anecdotally, dog owners have a pretty good sense that dogs make life much better, there’s actually quite a bit of research that supports how profoundly dog ownership and interaction can positively impact people at all stages of existence. Here are just a few of the reasons why dog possession can improve your days for the better.

Help strengthen immune systems in children

Dr . Carla Eatherington, a senior scientist specializing in Human-Animal Interaction research at Mars Incorporated’s Waltham Petcare Science Institute,, explains that will dogs may provide an invaluable service to their human companions from day one. “Children who grow up along with pets may see benefits in immunity. They have lower risk of developing asthma and other allergies, and get sick less often, ” Eatherington explains. “Although evidence isn’t conclusive, this might be related to how much time the dog spends outside — it will pick up things and then bring them back into the house, which then challenges the child’s immune system and makes it stronger. ” That said, she notes of which parents should be mindful of a child’s potential dog allergies before committing to bringing one into the particular home.

May help neurodivergent children communicate

Interaction together with dogs can be very beneficial for children living with neurodivergent conditions such as autism, with regard to whom typically the intensity involving human conversation can be overwhelming. “A canine doesn’t put any communication demands on a child, so they can practice social conversation in a safe space, ” Eatherington explains. This type connected with interaction can be monumental for kids with intellectual differences, and can even help in order to mediate social interactions . “A dog can act as this little translator who a child can communicate with socially or emotionally without the intensity with having a human conversation, or even if the child is nonverbal, ” says Eatherington.

Boosts self-esteem

Dogs may also offer the key to be able to boosting one of this most important elements for a young person’s life: Self-esteem. “Adolescence may be really difficult, and there are often a new marked dip in self-pride when kids reach middle school, ” says Eatherington. “Having some sort of pet can support them through that simply by creating a good strong emotional connection to something that loves them without judgment. ”

Combats loneliness for seniors

Of course, it’s not simply kids who can benefit from dog control. Loneliness, particularly among older Americans, has been proven to be a predictor of the shorter lifespan. For seniors who may not have close friends or family who live nearby, owning a pet can quite literally be lifesaving. Says Eatherington, “Pets allow you to maintain your independence regarding longer, because they force you to be a lot more active. They provide love and companionship, but also give you a reason to get upwards in the morning plus get out of the house. ” She notes that this isn’t merely an impact for canine owners — owning your cat could significantly decrease depression in addition to increase quality of lifestyle for senior citizens by giving them a sense of purpose. Dogs furthermore have some notable calming effect, which over time can help lower blood pressure and even risk about developing heart disease.

May help lessen impacts of depression

While pet ownership may improve signs of depression that are often intertwined with isolation for elderly people, pets can help to combat depressive disorders and anxiety for individuals of all ages. “Owning a pet helps you for you to maintain a fabulous routine, ” says Eatherington. “There will be literally a living thing that is depending upon you. For those suffering from depression, having a dog requires you to help feed it at the same time each day. If you’ve developed an important fear in leaving often the house, you have to take this out for a walk, which will naturally place you in touch with other folks around you. Even a social interaction as seemingly insignificant as saying ‘hello’ to someone while you’re out walking your dog can create a world of difference for someone battling extreme loneliness or perhaps depression. ” Eatherington likewise points out there that when a dog is usually staring way up at you with unconditional love and is so happy to see a person, it’s hard not to feel a positive effect.

All in all, for those prepared to take on the responsibility of pet ownership, there seem to be countless upsides to owning a dog. Since our dogs give us so much, they deserve the best from us in return, which is why we want in order to do all we can to make the world a better place for pets . If you’re considering adding an animal to your family, all of us urge you to adopt through your own local shelter. And learn more about helping dogs in need —  we’re confident you’ll get just as much out of the relationship as they will.

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