BY CANDY PARKER
We all know there are benefits to having a dog. What’s better than coming home to a furry bundle of unconditional love after a hard day at work? But beyond the obvious companionship perks, studies have shown that people who own a dog benefit in many other ways that improve their overall quality of life.
Stress reduction/mood elevation
Chronic stress can increase your risk of a number of health problems, ranging from heart disease to cancer. But having Fido around the house can significantly reduce stress levels. Research has shown that playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine — nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties. And simply petting your dog can improve your mood, as well.
There are few better “chick magnets” than a dog. Whether you’re at the dog park or sitting outside a coffee shop with your pup by your side, women are bound to talk to you. And conversing about your canine is an easy way to start a discussion with that cute girl in the vet’s office.
Allergy prevention/immunity boosting
Recent research has shown that that children who live in a home with a pet during their first year of life are more likely to be healthier, compared with kids who don’t live in a pet-owning household. Growing up with a dog in the home is thought to stimulate the immune system, reducing the likelihood of ear infections, respiratory tract infections and allergies.
Finding the time — or motivation — to exercise can be tough. But your four-legged furbaby isn’t going to walk himself. Having a dog compels you to get some exercise, even if it’s just a quick walk to the end of the block a few times a day. The daily dose of fresh air and cardio can do wonders for your health.