The benefits of having a dog


Dogs are more than just furry friends. They can improve your health status in many ways. (Photo courtesy of Samiyah Hargrove)

Dogs are more than just companions, they are also good for your health. Having a dog can reduce stress, make your heart stronger, make you more active, and–believe it or not– they might help you live longer. Studies show that having a dog increases your “levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin,” according to Animal Smarts.  Increasing oxytocin lowers your body’s production of stress hormones. 

Being around a familiar dog can lower your blood pressure causing your heart to be healthier. Researchers found that dog owners have a “33 percent lower risk of death among heart attacks,” said Linda Carroll, an American author

The American Heart Association links owning a dog to longer life. Owning a dog gives the owner a  “24-percent reduced risk of death from any cause,” said Carroll. Not only do dogs reduce the risk of death, but they can also detect illnesses if their owners train them to do so. Science Daily shows studies that “dogs can use their highly evolved sense of smell to pick out blood samples from people with cancer,” according to Experimental Biology.

Dogs have an impeccable sense of smell; they have 220 million scent receptors compared to our 5 million. “Cancers leave specific traces, or odor signatures, in a person’s…bodily secretions,” according to Medical News Today. There have been many cases where a dog sniffed out their owner’s illness saving their life.

Before your parents say that you can’t have a dog, bring these benefits to their attention and hopefully they will change their mind. Everyone can benefit from having a furry companion. 


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