A 5 minute read for all dog lovers. We share five ways dogs enrich our lives and one way you can enrich theirs in return.
As dog owners, we do what we can to make sure our dogs are healthy and happy. They are one of the family, our best pals, a consistent companion, always there by our side no matter what.
Scientists agree dogs help humans to live longer, happier lives.
A recent study found a 24% lower risk of death at any age for those people who owned dogs and a 31% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Of the study participants, those who already had serious heart disease dog owners had a 65% lower mortality rate than non-dog owners.
*Study published October 2019, in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes data findings were based on 10 studies, including over 3.5.million people, over 10 years.
Exactly how do dogs enhance our health and happiness?
Dogs Get You Active
Being a dog parent means lots of walkies.
Think about it.
If your furry pal wasn’t there to gaze at you with those “I would love you so much if we could go for a walk right now” eyes, would you be spending as much time outdoors?
What about on those rainy, snowy, windy, cold days? You would likely stay indoors with those cosy slippers on if it wasn’t for doggo.
We all know the benefits of exercise. You can’t move these days without information on the immense health benefits of getting active. There is no better motivator than a dog to influence exercise habits, plus they are far cuter than most personal trainers.
2. Dogs Help Us To Be More Sociable
As you know, dogs don’t have much sense of social etiquette; they generally have no inhibitions when it comes to strangers. How many times have you been out with your doggo only to find he has suddenly approached another walker passing by in the opposite direction or stopped to let the nice guy on the bench give him a fuss.
And what happens then?
You exchange a few words. You may even get chatting, or perhaps you make a new friend. Either way, it’s likely your dog’s social matchmaking generates more connection with other human beings than you would ordinarily have, left to your own devices.
Dogs are the perfect icebreakers and the perfect wingman or wingpup, as the case may be. If small talk isn’t your thing, doggo related chat is an ideal alternative; it’s so easy to talk about our canine pals rather than ourselves, right?
3. Dogs Are Guaranteed To Make You Laugh
Laughter truly is the best medicine!
- Laughter relaxes the whole body
- Laughter boosts the immune system
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins
- Laughter protects the heart
- Laughter burns calories
- Laughter may even help you to live longer
Norwegian researchers in 2016 reported findings from a 15-year study on the link between sense of humour and mortality. Among 53,556 women and men were included in the study. The findings show that for women, high scores on humour’s cognitive component were associated with 48% less risk of death from all causes, a 73% lower risk of death from heart disease and an 83% lower risk of death from infection.
There is no doubt bringing more laughter into your life is good for your physical and emotional health. One of the best ways to infuse more laughter into your life is to spend time with fun, playful beings.
Who is the most fun and playful being, you know?
How many times a day does your dog make you laugh out loud?
Life is all about fun and games to our dogs. It would be hard for it not to rub off on us.
4. Dogs Reduce Stress and Anxiety
You know that feeling you get when you see your doggo’s face, look into his eyes, and you just want to cuddle him/her or squeeze him because he is just so damn cute?
There is a scientific reason for that feeling.
The chemical Oxytocin causes it. This hormone encourages bonding, connection and feelings of love, love love.
Its nickname – the “cuddle chemical.”
Known to enhance feelings of trust, relaxation, empathy and counteract the stress chemicals cortisol and adrenaline, which fuel stress and anxiety.
Research published in the journal Science 2015 reported that mutual gazing into each other’s eyes created a significant increase in oxytocin levels in both dogs and their owners.
“Of the duos that had spent the greatest amount of time looking into each other’s eyes, both male and female dogs experienced a 130% rise in oxytocin levels, and both male and female owners a 300% increase.”
This indicates the same positive feedback loop as seen between mothers and their babies; some scientists suggest this is what has led to the domestication and close bonds between dogs and humans.
Next time you feel stressed or worried, go stare into your canine companion’s eyes for a while; it is scientifically proven to help!
5. Dogs Remind Us We Are Loved
That fur friend generated feeling of love and companionship is perhaps the most valuable enrichment to our lives.
As humans, we are predisposed to need connection; it is programmed into our DNA, dogs provide this in spades. Plus, they have minimal rules, just feed me, let me exercise and play, all of which is a small price to pay.
Dogs don’t care what we wear, what we look like, what we say; they love us regardless.
So there you have it. The amount of value our dogs add to our lives is immense. H2 What is the one simple way you can enrich our dog’s lives in return?
Ensure you provide food that is designed to help them thrive.
Nutrition is the cornerstone of health for us and our dogs.
“You are what you eat.”
It’s not just a saying. It’s a fact. The macro and micro-nutrients from the food you put into your body are what your cells use to replenish every 30-120days. It is no different for our dogs.
There is a vast difference between feeding a diet that helps your dog survive and one that allows them to truly thrive.
Unfortunately, the pet food corporations have had us fooled as consumers for decades. As we become more savvy and ask questions about where our food comes from, in turn, we are beginning to ask about our canine friends’ food too.
Providing a fresh, natural, whole-food, species-appropriate diet is THE best thing you can do to enrich your dog’s life today!
Your dog depends on you to feed him/her and to do so in a species-appropriate way. Taking the time to read and listen to the facts about dog food and canine nutrition is the first step.
Author – The ProDog Team