Your dog’s love is never more evident than when you arrive home. Your dog is overjoyed to see you. Such a welcome! It makes you feel on top of the world!
And it’s not just love that your dog gives you so freely, but a whole load of other benefits too. In fact, scientists can give you reams of information on why it’s good to have a dog in your family. And there are so many of them (benefits that is)!
Let me tell you a few of the myriad ways your dog’s love enhances your health, your brain, your blood pressure, your mood, your …. Okay, okay – I’ll stop eulogizing and get on with it!
A Harmony of Hormones from your Dog’s Love
It’s automatic to pat your dog, when she comes up to you. It’s a reward for her because it releases the cuddle hormone, oxytocin, otherwise known as the ‘attachment hormone’. But it helps you too. It releases a similar chain of oxytocin and serotonin through your body. That’s love.
Those feel-good hormones make you (and your dog) feel the love. You’re both happy. You feel calmer and far more positive about the world.
Fancy gazing into those adoring doggy eyes? That will trigger even more of those hormones, both in you and in your dog.
You may also like:Hormesis 101: Small Doses of Stress to Live Longer
How Throwing a Stick Can Reduce Your Stress
Those feel good hormones don’t just make you feel positive and loved. They also reduce your production of cortisol, the fight or flight hormone that you produce when you’re stressed. Just 10 minutes of playing with your dog can reduce your cortisol levels and restore you to calm.
In the long run, those 10 minutes every day add up to reducing your risks of developing stress related diseases, such as heart disease. For example: playing with dog = lower cortisol levels = lower blood pressure!
So, go find a stick or break out a frisbee and reward your dog for reducing your stress with a nice 10 minute game of fetch! The exercise will reduce your stress some more too.
Dogs Love it When You Say ‘Let’s Go Walkies’!
Dogs love going for walks. For them, all those delicious smells hiding behind bushes and lamp posts are a HUGE treat.
Yes, you need to exercise your dog. But you’re exercising yourself at the same time. And that’s good for you. Dog owners are far less likely to be overweight. That means they avoid all the nasty diseases that go with weight gain.
It’s just about the best exercise for your heart, getting you out in the sunshine and fresh air. Gets you into nature. All of these things benefit your human health.
Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body, the Benefits of Dog-Latin
I bet you didn’t know your dog was good at Latin did you? (Dog-Latin is a real thing, a distant relative of doggerel!)
‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ is a Latin saying which means ‘A healthy mind in a healthy body’.
All that dog walking gives you a healthy body. It’s well documented that dog owners visit doctors less than non-pet owners and take less medication too.
A dog is good company, so you don’t feel lonely. She doesn’t answer back or argue with you, but gazes at you adoringly and is always good for a cuddle. All that dog’s love means that you’re far less likely to get anxious and depressed.
All these elements help your dog’s human (that’s YOU) to keep in great mental and physical health and then you’re more likely to live longer.
Your Dog’s Lead Connects More than You and Your Dog
When you take your dog out for a walk, your dog is keen to meet other dogs. Other dogs have humans attached to the other end of their leads. Which means that your dog literally leads you to meet more humans.
And you get to talk to those other dog owners and other dog-admiring passers-by who want the benefit of bestowing a few pats for the price of a couple of admiring comments!
But you’re the real beneficiary. You get your dose of essential social interactions and connections, all important for your own mental and physical health. If you live on your own, it can literally be a life-saver as you get a dose of social connections each time you take your dog out, if not a few new friends and a whole new social life.
If you don’t have your own dog, see if you can borrow one! Maybe there are some elderly people who feel bad that they don’t exercise their dogs as much as they’d like, because they’ve got trouble with their knees or they hips and can’t walk far. Or try a dog shelter. They are often hard pressed looking after ill treated and abandoned dogs. So they’re often happy to have volunteers take their dogs out for exercise and give them a bit of love and confidence.
Your Dog’s Real Purpose
The fact that you must get up to take the dog for a walk or feed it or take care of him gives you a sense of purpose. It’s particularly important for older people, who live much longer if they feel needed and able to contribute.
And most dog owners love to repay their dog’s love by looking after them. You benefit because you learn new things from caring for them. Or, you can learn to teach them tricks. That stimulates your brain as well as your dogs and keeps both your brains in great working order. It gives you a reason to get up in the morning.
Having purpose and being needed make people live longer. Of course, the dog may think its purpose in life is to lavish its doggy love on its human.
Doggy Life Savers
Any much-loved mongrel can deliver all the life benefits we’ve talked of so far. But one of the main benefits is that having a dog to cuddle and play with is fun! It enriches your life to make your dog feel happy. The silly things your dog gets up to make you smile. Your dog’s delight makes you laugh – and makes you love your dog even more.
And those benefits add up to a longer life for you. Less stress, exercise, better health, social connection, feeling happy and loved, a sense of purpose – each one of these helps us to live longer. Most dogs also double up as guard dogs, making their owners feel safer. Our dogs save our lives.
And think of how specially trained dogs do even more. Guide dogs for the blind, or hearing dogs, or dogs that tell their owners when they’re going to have an epileptic fit or that they’ve got prostate cancer.
How about a dog who lets you know if you’re about to go into a diabetic coma? Or a dog who helps you put your socks on when you can’t bend over? Such devotion.
The Myriad Amazing Things Your Dog’s Love Does For You
So, the next time you find yourself grumbling about the price of dog food, think of the myriad benefits your dog delivers to you.
Your little pooch, your fur baby, your ever-loving companion, your rescue dog is helping you to extend your life. Your dog’s love is not just about love and loyalty. It delivers better mental and physical health and helps you in so many ways to be happier and healthier.
Let us be grateful and admiring of the myriad things that dogs do for us, their owners. Remember that your dog is saving you from yourself – to live a longer, happier, less stressful life.
Thanks so much for reading!
You May Also Like:
We’d love to see a photo of your dog. Please pop one in the comments
2 thoughts on “The Myriad Ways Your Dog’s Love Extends Your Life”
What a great article to remind us of all the benefits of have a dog in you life. Our family dog is a ten year old pug we named Lola and she has changed our family with her love, devotion and antics. I made a video of her which I’ll see if I can get it posted so you’ll see what I mean! A video is worth ten thousand words. Thanks for the great read!
Dogs can be such fun – I love getting videos of my daughter’s dog and hearing what she’s been up to. I’d love to see the video of Lola. Give it a go on here and keep me posted.