It took a long time for humans to finally domesticate dogs, but the benefits have been worth it. From companionship to rescue work, hunting, guiding, and guarding property, these animals truly are man’s best friends. But did you also know that owning a dog can provide a number of health advantages? Below is a list of wellness benefits of dog ownership.
Dog Owners Tend to Have Stronger Immune Systems
Your immune system is one of the primary defenses your body uses to ward off disease. However, it can become compromised by a number of different causes and tends to decline with age. While it might seem odd that having a canine present strengthens one’s immune systems, researchers believe that it is the result of all the fresh bacteria that dogs bring into the home, which ultimately finds its way into your body. Exposure to such bacteria enables the immune systems of dog owners to better battle illness compared to non-owners.
Dogs Are Capable of Detecting Various Diseases
Studies conducted on canines over the last thirty years suggest that they are capable of detecting not one, but multiple diseases in the early stages, including cancer. For instance, they have a tendency to lick and sniff cancerous moles or lumps and as a consequence, some are being trained to look specifically for cancerous growth. Aside from cancer, they are also capable of detecting diabetes due to their ability to sense when the blood sugar of their handler has fallen. Dogs can be trained and rewarded to look for specific ailments which give off a certain scent, and while the exact mechanism they use to achieve this is the subject of ongoing scientific research, we can all agree that it is extraordinary.
Dog Owners Have Greater Allergic Resistance
While some people are allergic to dogs, there are others who will acquire greater allergic resistance by being around them. For instance, recent scientific studies have found that many children that grow up with dogs tend to have superb allergic resistance, while other data suggests that dogs that are present in a home with pregnant women will result in births where the babies have 2 new gut bacteria, which are Oscillospira and Ruminococcus, which gives them a greater ability to ward off obesity, asthma and standard allergies.
Owning a Dog Will Give You a Stronger Heart
As if the benefits mentioned previously are not enough, dog ownership has also been found to strengthen one’s heart, making them more resistant to cardiovascular disease. Specifically, a Harvard study revealed that long-time dog owners displayed reduced levels of triglyceride and cholesterol compared to those that never owned a dog. Given the fact that heart disease is one of the leading causes of morbidity among American males and females, this is significant.
While scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why this is the case, it is believed that oxytocin, a hormone, is responsible since when interacting with their dogs and petting them this hormone will be released at elevated levels in both canines and their owners, which increases bonding while lowering stress.
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