dog

8 Ways That Dogs Are Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

by Rebecca Endicott
Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

Growing up, my whole childhood was a series of beloved, wonderful pups. There was really no chance that I wouldn’t grow up to be a dog-lover!

From tiny dachshunds to enormous, goofy dogs like this silly Newfoundland and his pal, I love dogs of all shapes and sizes! But not everyone feels exactly the same way that I do… Many dog-lovers have experienced the challenge of trying to win over an unwilling partner, roommate, or landlord.

Well, if you’re pleading a canine cause with someone who thrives on logic, you might be interested to know that there is a solid, fact-based case for dog ownership.

In an effort to prove just how wonderful dogs are, we here at LittleThings took an exclusive look at the many health benefits our precious pups bring us!

Scroll through the gallery below to learn all the amazing ways that a canine companion can improve your health — and change your lifestyle for the better!

1. They Get You Out Of The House

1. They Get You Out Of The House
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

It may seem obvious, but dog-owners get a lot more exercise than people without dogs. Not only do they require active walks (especially with bigger dogs), but they also build a ton of movement into your day organically, whether they’re trying to coerce you into one more game of fetch, or “helping” in the garden.

2. They Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease

2. They Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

If you worry about heart disease, maybe dog ownership is for you! Studies have demonstrated that dog owners have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and less risk of heart disease that other folks. Even just being around a dog for a short period of time can lower your heart rate!

3. They Improve Mental Health

3. They Improve Mental Health
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

You’ve probably noticed the near-magical way that dogs always seem to boost your mood! That’s because a pup’s presence lowers cortisol levels, the chemical that causes stress, and makes your body release serotonin and oxytocin, the chemicals in our brain responsible for happiness, calm, and affection.

4. They Make You Less Likely To Develop Allergies

4. They Make You Less Likely To Develop Allergies
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

While there’s no guarantee, growing up with a dog — or raising your own kids with a dog in the house — is a great way to decrease the overall chance of developing allergies. Since dog fur is full of dander, a childhood dog exposes kids to all those allergens early and helps boost their immune systems later!

5. They Might Know When Something Is Really, Really Wrong

5. They Might Know When Something Is Really, Really Wrong
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Having a dog just might save your life. They’re much more sensitive to their environments than humans, which is why they’ve been known to detect everything from earthquakes to seizures to cancerous tumors, often long before their human has any idea that something is wrong. If they start pawing at you, that may be a sign that they’re trying to tell you something.

6. They Help You Expand Your Social Circle

6. They Help You Expand Your Social Circle
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Everyone likes making new friends! Besides, if you’re newly single or just moved to a new city, there’s no faster way to pick up a circle of buddies than by bringing your pooch to the dog park, and striking up conversation with fellow dog-owners! After all, you already have a shared interest in common!

7. They'll Protect You From Danger

7. They'll Protect You From Danger
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Even if your dog isn’t exactly the “guard dog” type, just having a dog can be a great way to protect yourself. Criminals are unlikely to target a house if they know that there’s a dog inside, and most pooches are great at sounding the alarm if they notice something off, like the smell of smoke or a strange sound in the middle of the night.

8. They're Wonderful Companions As You Age

8. They're Wonderful Companions As You Age
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

While you might think that dogs are too energetic for older adults, they’re also affectionate, care-giving companions. For older adults who have retired, or moved to a new environment, having a dog can add structure to your day and be a wonderful asset to really enjoying those golden years!

Are there any other ways that your dog improves your health and sense of well-being? Let us know in the comments below, and please SHARE on Facebook for other dog-lovers to enjoy!