Why do you need a dog?Liz Mallia
Dogs: man’s best friend, our loving loyal companions for centuries. Humans and dogs have a long history of companionship. Dogs have helped us, working as loyal guardians, herders, companions, guides, and more, though today many dogs have luxurious lives as cherished pets. Many dog lovers want a dog in their lives, but we may also NEED dogs in our lives.
Spending time with your dog can really improve your mood. Playing with your dog helps increase your serotonin and dopamine levels; these neurotransmitters are linked to your mood, and are associated with happiness and calm. If you’re feeling down, half an hour playing with and petting your dog will help you feel much calmer and happier. This effect has led to the development of Animal Assisted Therapy, which uses animals to help alleviate people’s anxiety, depression, pain, and various mental illnesses.
Have a heart
Dogs can also help your physical health. The company of your canine companion can lead to lower blood pressure. In turn, this helps to prevent a whole host of heart problems and cardiovascular diseases in the future.
Having a dog can also help to improve your immune system. Children who grow up with dogs are less prone to skin conditions, such as eczema, and allergies. Even owning a dog in your adult life can help to bolster your immune system, making you less prone to cough and colds.
Dogs can also be trained to spot certain diseases. A dog’s powerful sense of smell allows him or her to sniff out diseases such as cancer. This same sensitive sense of smell that makes dogs so great at sniffing out bombs, people, and drugs has the potential to save lives.
Another way dogs can keep you healthy is walking. If you have a dog, you’ll need to take him or her on a daily walk. Daily walks with your dog form part of your essential daily exercise.
A surprising benefit to owning a dog is that it may help you to stop smoking. According to one 2008 report in the Tobacco Control journal, 28 per cent of dog owners found that their pets were important motivation to quit. They knew that second-hand smoke would be dangerous for their pets, and this helped them to stop smoking.
Everyone feels lonely sometimes. If you’ve moved to a new place or work from home, you may find yourself feeling isolated. Coming home to a wagging tail and doggy kisses can ease your loneliness and improve your self-esteem. If you’re feeling down because your boss was hard on you or the day was tough, your dog can lift your mood. Some offices, noticing the calming benefits of dogs, actually allow employees to bring their beloved pets with them, or have an office dog (sounds like a dream workplace!)
A dog can also make it easier to meet new people, whether as a topic of conversation (“Hello stranger, what a lovely dog!”) or in a shared hobby (for example, if you attend obedience classes or compete in canine agility).