Is Owning A Dog Good for Your Health?

Is owning a dog good for your health?

Published 12 March 2018  |  Last updated 19 May 2020

When it comes to health, we may feel as though we are continually striving for a greater quality of life.

Some people resort to incorporating a range of superfoods into their diets, while others prefer to focus their time and energy on fitness and exercise.

However, sometimes, looking for a less obvious solution may benefit your health in more ways than one. The question "is owning a dog good for your health?" is often part of this discussion and there may be more benefits to owning a dog than you might first guess.

Increased level of exercise

Owning a dog comes with various responsibilities, including ensuring that the dog is cared for, fed and exercised on a daily basis, and may involve routine visits to the vet.

Exercise, in particular, is essential for dogs to keep them fit and healthy; both physically and mentally. Walking a dog on a daily basis can also contribute to our own recommended 10,000 steps a day, helping to burn calories and build fitness levels.

After all, an increase in time spent exercising can contribute to a healthier lifestyle and reduce the risk of serious chronic health problems such as heart disease and obesity.

Greater social prospects

Alongside the exercise aspect of owning a pooch, spending time walking a dog can also present owners with greater social prospects in day-to-day life.

This is because dog walkers may be more likely to socialise with other owners, by stopping to chat and admire each other's pooches.

Furthermore, a Swedish study of more than 3.4 million elderly people has suggested that owning a dog could help older people who live alone reduce early death by 33 per cent. The research says this could be down to offering companionship, but also recognises it could be due to different factors such as increased exercise and changes in gut bacteria.

Potential for fewer allergies

According to research led by Silvia Colicino, introducing a dog into your home could also reduce the risk of allergies.

The PhD student from Imperial College London, along with other researchers from various British universities, has found that young children were less likely to develop asthma in later life if they are exposed to dogs in their home.

This may be due to the 'helpful' protective bacteria that dogs carry - bacteria that could help children build immunity during their early stages of development.

However, other potential signs that were shown to predict an increased likelhood of developing asthma symptoms in adulthood were allergies to cats, having eczema, or having hayfever by the age of five, so unfortunately, there's no guarantee that owning a dog would erradicate allergies completely!

Effects of happiness on health

At Compare Cover, we've previously looked at the link between the affect of happiness on our health. Although a lot of external environmental factors will contribute to both our happiness levels and our wellbeing, there are studies to suggest that those who are happier can have lower levels of stress hormones, as well as other physical benefits.

So if having your own best furry friend makes you happy, it could also be good for your health!

If you're looking to compare pet insurance quotes to protect your dog's well being, why not take a look at our pet insurance guides first to find out what type of cover is right for you?


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