But recent research about the canine-human relationship shows that owning a dog is actually good for you on both physical and emotional levels. Here are just a few reasons why having a dog benefits your health:
According to a study of more than 3.4 million people, owning a dog is linked to a longer life. The health benefit was most prominent for people living alone, who had a 11% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease compared to people who lived alone without a dog. Studies show that interacting with a dog relieves stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate, slowing breathing and relaxing muscle tension almost immediately. These benefits lead to increased heart health and actually make it stronger, leading to fewer heart attacks. What’s more, dog owners who do have heart attacks have better survival rates. And if you’re having trouble at home or in the office, studies also show that dogs ease tension both at the office and between married couples.
A study from Tufts University concluded that people who have a strong attachment to a pet report that they feel more connected in their human relationships and their communities. In fact, about 40% of dog owners make friends more easily, likely because the vast majority – 4 in 5, according to one British study – speak with other dog owners during walks or at the dog park. The same study also concluded that teenagers and young adults who grow up with a dog become more confident and empathetic.
Studies have suggested that growing up with a dog in the house can decrease allergies and asthma in children. Dogs actually lower a child’s chance of becoming allergic to pets—up to 33%, according to a 2004 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. As a side bonus, children might even develop stronger immune systems.
Studies show that dog owners are more likely to engage in moderate physical activity than those who don’t own a dog. On average, dog owners walk 300 minutes per week compared to non-dog owners who walk an average of 168 minutes per week. This increase in activity can help you lose weight and keep you mobile into your 70s and 80s. One study found that older adults who walked dogs experienced lower body mass index, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.
Cranbury Park in Norwalk, CT. Over 220 acres of wooded land and one of the best off-leash spots for dogs to enjoy. Plenty of open space and a lot of trail areas that are perfect for exploring. There are plenty of water fountains for humans and canines alike.
Rockefeller State Park in Mount Pleasant, NY. There are many different wooded trails and scenic loops to make your hike as short or as long as you want. Although dogs have to be leashed, it is big enough of a preserve to not feel overcrowded.
Before you do, check out these homes that will make it easy for you to spoil your dog!