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Surprising benefits of dog ownership

  • December 5, 2016
  • By Grace
Surprising benefits of dog ownership

Owners will testify that dogs are great companions, but having a pet has other benefits too and some of those benefits are more than a little bit surprising.

Physical benefits

Dogs like to walk and in consequence, owners get more exercise. Increased levels of exercise are linked to lower blood pressure and better immune systems. Canines do have the effect of exposing people to higher levels of germs, but that increased exposure actually helps improve immunity, resulting in greater resistance to diseases and infections, such as the common cold and flu.

Taking regular exercise helps prevent the onset of any number of conditions, including cardiovascular disease that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Anyone considering slacking off from exercise will have to think again when they see the dog waiting by the door, eager to be in the great outdoors.

Remarkably, canines appear to have the ability to detect cancer in the human body, owing to their incredible sense of smell. There are numerous reports of dogs sniffing a mole or lump on someone’s body, which after tests is found to be cancerous. Scientific research appears to offer support for the claim and initiatives are being undertaken to train dogs to help detect cancer in people.


Mental benefits

Dogs are great companions and for people living on their own they can be a great source of comfort and security. Anyone considering getting one might want to think how comforting it would be to come home after a long, stressful day at work to find a loving companion waiting for them at the door. Canines help relieve depression in their owners and are generally associated with making people feel more positive about themselves.

Elderly people with dogs have been recorded by care providers as experiencing lower levels of stress. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease are believed to be less prone to outbursts if there is a dog present.  Children also benefit from being around dogs. Having a pet helps give a child a greater sense of responsibility if parents involve them in the daily care routine for the animal, such as feeding, cleaning and exercising.

Owning a dog can do wonders for a person’s social life – strangers are much more likely to engage in conversation with someone walking a dog.

From a security perspective, dogs are territorial, so they do not like intruders. They are synonymous with a great sense of hearing and will hear an intruder trying to gain access to your house before you do. Burglars are far less likely to try to gain access to a home where a canine is barking, for fear of being detected.


Choosing a dog

Working full-time means leaving a pet on their own in the house for much of the day. There are certain breeds that will better suit owners who work all day. They include such low-energy breeds as basset hounds and pugs or a Maltese poodle, the latter of which belong to the toy group of canines. Owners looking for a bigger breed that can be left on its own might consider a greyhound or whippet, both of which like to stretch out on a couch or chair for a long sleep. Greyhounds and whippets need their exercise, so owners should be prepared to walk their animal every evening when they get home. If an owner feels uncomfortable leaving a canine on its own then they could consider using a local dog walking or sitting service.

A note of caution for anyone considering a dog: all breeds are social animals and require a walk. Some require longer walks than others, but someone whose lifestyle is not conducive to taking an evening and weekend stroll really needs to question whether they should get a dog. Owners should choose a breed that fits their lifestyle. Bringing a new animal into the home means making the home pet-proof, with restricted access to prevent damage to valuables. Purchasing a secure bin is another useful tip because dogs love to root around in rubbish for something tasty that their owner has thrown out.

The social nature of canines is one of the reasons why anxiety and stress can become a problem if left unchecked. The good news is that there are dog anxiety relief products available to purchase, so a pet does not have to suffer unduly from stress.

Owning a dog comes with responsibilities but anyone willing to put the necessary level of commitment in will be rewarded many times over, not least with their pet’s love for them.


By Grace, December 5, 2016
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