National Dog Month
August is National Dog Month. With so many proven benefits of having a dog, it is no surprise that nearly 87 million American households are home to a dog.
Benefits of having a pet – Research has indicated that people with pets live longer than people without pets. This has been attributed to lower rates of depression, increased physical activity, and lowered risk of certain diseases. Specifically, the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure decrease, as do the risk of heart attack and stroke. Some studies have even suggested that pet ownership can boost immune systems.
Pets lower blood pressure – This decrease is thought to be associated with increased physical activity from playing with or walking a pet. Most dog breeds are recommended to have at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity, which is coincidentally the recommendation for the average adult. Simply walking a dog daily will increase physical fitness and overall wellness.
Walking your dog is great exercise – Following the 30-minuteguidance for exercising your dog will provide many benefits to your body. Walking improves cardiovascular health, reduces weight, improves cholesterol, and a host of other benefits. It is low impact and more comfortable for joints than exercises such as running. Getting enough exercise reduces the risk of many diseases including cancer and diabetes.
Pets make you happier – Cortisol is a stress hormone that in excess can wreak havoc on your body or cause conditions such as anxiety or depression. There is good news, though: petting a dog can reduce cortisol levels within just 15-30 minutes. It can also stimulate the release of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”. Pets also provide company and reduce feelings of social isolation.