The simple act of petting a dog can instantly uplift your spirits. But did you know that even fleeting positive interactions between humans and dogs can have enduring health benefits?
A growing body of research suggests that even brief interactions with dogs can reduce stress hormones, boost “feel-good” hormones, and improve cognitive function.
For example, one study found that people who spent just 5-20 minutes with a dog had significantly lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Another study found that children who interacted with dogs in the classroom demonstrated enhanced executive function, meaning that their reasoning abilities and concentration improved.
The Perks of Dog Ownership
The health advantages of dog ownership are even more striking. One study found that dog owners had a 33% lower likelihood of dying from heart disease compared to non-dog owners. Another study revealed that dog owners had a 24% reduced risk of overall mortality.
Why Dogs Are So Beneficial
There are several reasons why dogs are so beneficial to our health. Firstly, they provide companionship and social support. They also encourage us to be more active, as we need to walk them and engage in play. Additionally, dogs can help alleviate stress and anxiety.
How to Maximize the Health Benefits of Interacting with Dogs
Even if you don’t own a dog, you can still enjoy the benefits of interacting with them. Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter or pet rescue organization, or simply spend time with dogs owned by friends or family members.
If you are a dog owner, ensure you shower them with ample love and attention. Regular walks, playtime, and expressing your affection are all important.
If you’re interested in learning more about the health benefits of interacting with dogs, I encourage you to do some research online or talk to your doctor. There are many resources available to help you get started.
Here are some additional tips for maximizing the health benefits of interacting with dogs:
- Choose a dog that is well-behaved and friendly.
- Begin by spending short durations of time with the dog.
- Gradually extend the amount of time you spend with the dog.
- Always be patient and gentle with the dog.
- Show the dog that you enjoy their company.