How a dog can make you healthier and your home happier

By KentOnline reporter

Original article on Houzz

by Amanda Pollard, Houzz Contributor 

There are so many good reasons to own a dog, the most obvious being that they’re great fun, they give you unconditional love in return for food, warmth and exercise, and of course they’re adorable.

But if you still need more persuading, check out these ways a household hound can actually make you healthier.

Photo by House of Fraser

Photo by House of Fraser

 

Hug your way to a healthy heart

Stroking your dog feels lovely, and has the added bonus of reducing blood pressure. Scientists put this down to the oxytocin hormone that is released when you bond with your pet. This 'hug hormone' is the same chemical that’s released when you’re hugging a baby or loved one and actually helps to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. So when you’re stroking your pup on the sofa this evening, you can bask in the knowledge that your heart is benefitting, too.

Photo by Moxon Architects

Photo by Moxon Architects

Boost your immunity

According to experts, our germ-free homes are making us less resistant to illness. By constantly disinfecting every surface, we’re limiting exposure to germs and preventing our bodies from building up immunity. Bring a dog into the home and you’ll also bring its germs in, giving your body a chance to build up some antibodies – problem solved.

Photo by Chris Snook

Photo by Chris Snook

Get everyday exercise

If you’re someone who procrastinates about exercise, you’ll certainly benefit from owning a pooch. Dogs need regular walks, so you’ll have no excuse not to get out and about for a stroll in the park. Add some ball throwing into the equation and you’ll easily tot up your recommended half hour of daily exercise without even thinking about it.

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Photo by Karen Parry Architect

Photo by Karen Parry Architect

Beat the blues

Dogs are brilliant for focusing the mind away from our own problems. Instead of thinking about what’s making you feel down, your dog will force you to think about their needs instead. They require routine and plenty of exercise, which are both good for battling depression. 

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Dogs are brilliant for focusing the mind away from our own problems

Dogs are brilliant for focusing the mind away from our own problems

Meet new people

Ever noticed groups of dog owners chatting in the park? Chances are they originally struck up a conversation over their furry friends. Owning a dog is a great way to meet people and bond over tales of slipper chewing. If your neighbours are also dog owners, you could even head out together for a sociable walk with your respective hounds.

Photo by Sofa.com

Photo by Sofa.com

Improve your mood

When you’ve had a hard day at work, nothing beats coming home to a furry friend. A wagging tail and enthusiastic panting are the best antidotes to stress and will instantly cheer you up. If a positive mindset helps us to stay healthy, then having a dog at home will bring dividends.

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Photo by Farrow Ball

Photo by Farrow & Ball

Reduce allergies

If you’re allergic to dog hair, this might seem counter-intuitive. However, growing up with a dog in the home can actually reduce your chances of developing allergies. Some researchers have even found that children who are exposed to four-legged friends are less likely to have eczema.

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Photo by Carlo Carossio

Photo by Carlo Carossio

Beef up security

A barking dog might be annoying for the postman, but it could work to your advantage by deterring burglars. Even a small dog can have a loud bark, and that might just be enough to put off a potential intruder. If your dog makes you feel safer at home, you’ll be calmer, more relaxed and less likely to suffer from stress-related illness.

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