We’ve known it for a long time, and here at Little Soap Company we truly love boasting about our four legged friends. Yes, that’s right folks. Dogs make you healthy and happy- and we intend to show you exactly why. If you’re lucky enough to own a dog, you will no doubt already be aware that our furry friends are the best thing ever. But did you know there are very real emotional and physical benefits too? Here are five great little reasons why dog owners are happier and healthier than the average person…
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first, shall we? One of the first major considerations when deciding to adopt a dog is understanding their physical needs and being able to get out and walk them regularly. This is essential. This is non negotiable. This is one of your dog’s daily requirements that simply cannot be skipped. And so it stands to reason that if you’re out walking your dog because you’re ensuring they are getting the exercise that they need, then you are naturally moving a little more too. And being outdoors means that not only are you boosting endorphins by moving more (and therefore raising the body’s serotonin levels thus helping to improve the mood and relieve symptoms of stress) but your body is benefiting from lots of lovely fresh air and plenty of vitamin D too.
Dogs keep you young
Studies have found something amazing. Owning a dog can actually help you to live longer, and slow the process of ageing too. This is all down to a few factors, not least the fact that daily exercise (see point one) helps to keep the body fit and healthy and therefore prolongs your life. Studies have also found that owning a dog reduces the risk of heart disease and the psychological benefits of owning a dog has been shown to improve the rate at which patients recover from a variety of illnesses. By improving overall health, both emotionally and physically, your dog will keep you young. Who doesn’t want that? We’re sold!
Dogs improve emotional wellbeing
Research has also found that when you stroke your dog, the hormone oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is also known as the ‘love’ hormone and is produced in the body during childbirth; it’s often the reason why women feel a rush of love for their newborn baby, and is the reason why stroking and cuddling your dog makes you both feel so good. And the psychological benefits don’t end there. Dog owners have reported that their pet helps them to feel a sense of belonging, a love for life, and greater self esteem. It seems owning a dog boosts self confidence and improves human performance in social situations, helps to keep owners fit, healthy and alert, and actually helps you to develop healthy and lasting relationships too. All of this leads to a better state of mind, more of an understanding of true happiness and overall improved emotional wellbeing. And if I’m not stroking Henry he is sure to do the Labrador Lean on me or Elaine or Gerry in the office. That or lie over feet so you’re rooted to the spot! He’s not daft!
Dogs help to teach children about relationships, personal care and responsibilities
Children who grow up with pets are more likely to gain a better understanding of relationships, being responsible for certain duties and for their own personal care too. As they see you taking care of your dog, they are more likely to link in with their own needs for self care too. Besides, there is nothing cuter or more rewarding than watching the relationship between a child and their dog develop. Henry dotes on Jake and watching that bond develop has been magical. Dogs teach children so much – how to show kindness, how to think of others, how to take care of someone else. Dogs are everyones best friends. They listen to secrets and don’t tell anyone and are the best cuddlers when you’re feeling a bit low. Owning a dog is also a great life lesson for us all, but especially for kids, no matter how tough that might be at times.
Dogs help you to make new friends
It’s a well known fact that there is a little unwritten rule of friendship between dog owners. You will come to recognise the same people who walk their dogs at the same time as you. You’ll perhaps start with a nod and a smile, and if you’re brave enough you’ll venture to a quick ‘hello’ too. But don’t stop there. Have a conversation. We bumped into Rachel and Pickle several times when we first moved, then one morning she was in her run kit and we had a chat how I needed to start running again but didn’t know many places being new to the area. She suggested we meet the next morning and has been my early morning run buddy ever since! Henry and Pickle get a good play and walk, we get 5km and 10k steps under our belts, I’m learning new routes and to boot we put the world to rights at the same time… and it all began from our mutual love of our pooches. Being a dog owner is a fantastic ice breaker, so get out there and make some new friends!