The health benefits of dogs include many different things. We all know how much service and therapy dogs help veterans but a dog can actually help improve your health in many diverse ways. Having a dog can improve your mental well-being, lessen your doctor visits, and strengthen your cardiovascular health. Dogs can also improve recovery time after surgery and even make survival rates higher.
Dogs have even been shown, in recent research, to be able to detect cancer in a person’s body—sometimes even from just smelling their breath. It is truly amazing all the health benefits of dogs. Let’s take a look at some of the ways a dog can help improve your health.
Dogs Helping Senior Citizens
Many senior citizen lives have been improved by owning a dog. If they have an illness they have been shown to recover more quickly when they are in contact with dogs. Although this may sound odd, dogs sometimes have a better chance of improving survival rates from serious illnesses than the presence of friends or family members.
Owning a dog or having a dog in their presence is a great asset for senior citizens. Some senior citizens that own dogs have fewer visits to their physicians than patients that do not have a dog. As an aside, this is also true for those that are not senior citizens. Dog ownership can have a positive effect on the emotional and physical well-being of seniors.
Dogs, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol Levels
Health benefits of dogs include that many dog owners have lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure than people that do not own dogs. These health improvements can also lessen the chance of cardiovascular disease. The mere act of petting a dog has been shown to reduce a person’s blood pressure. These health benefits can even continue without the dog being there.
Dogs Helping with Mental Wellness
Mental wellness and emotional health of those that own dogs is often better than those who do not own a pet. A dog gives affection and unconditional love. Just their presence makes people feel less lonely. Dogs are not called “man’s best friend” for nothing! Many people with mental issues isolate themselves. Those that are handicapped or disabled can be helped by the friendship that a dog offers. Dogs help veterans with PTSD in many ways also. A dog can also add a sense of security by alerting them to strangers or intruders.
Dogs Helping with Physical Illness
Therapy dogs have been a godsend to many people in nursing homes, hospitals and hospices. People are many times able to fight the stress of having an illness in a better manner by having a dog as a pet or having a therapy dog visit them. Although certified therapy dogs have shown to help immensely even a companion dog can help a person with a physical illness.
Dogs Helping to Detect Cancer
Detecting cancer in its early stages is of tremendous importance to the survival rate of patients with cancer. The Pine Street Foundation obtained a grant to perform a study aimed at the accurate early detection of breast and lung cancers. A dog’s sense of smell is considered to be one of the best in the world. A dog’s nose is precisely what was used in this study.
The Pine Street Foundation study used 86 people with lung or breast cancer and five dogs that were trained to tell the difference between health breath samples and the breath of a patient with cancer. They also used 83 healthy people in the study. The dogs were able to correctly identify the patients with cancer (both late and early stages) at about a 90% success rate.
Health Benefits of Dogs make them a Loving and Helpful Companion
We’ve listed quite a few health benefits of dogs. All of us at Dogs for Vets already know about all the love and joy that an animal brings to our lives. But these health benefits of dogs makes it an even stronger reason to have a dog in your life.