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Why having a dog is good for your wellbeing

It’s no secret – dog’s make us happy. They are a constant source of joy and unconditional love in our lives, and don’t judge us when perhaps our fellow humans would.

They provide companionship through thick and thin, and know just when we’re feeling down. Owning a dog is actually proven, in many ways, to improve one’s well-being.

To celebrate the important role dogs play in our lives,  we’ve put together a list of how dogs help humans improve their health and well-being.

1. Dogs and depression. Our pooches can help stave off depression and anxiety, which unfortunately are becoming more and more common in humans as we move through ever-busier lives (18% of Kiwi adults have suffered from some form of anxiety disorder).

Research has actually shown dog owners to have a lower risk of depression and anxiety. Our tail-wagging friends increase our levels of serotonin and dopamine (key neurochemicals which influence our sense of calm and wellbeing), and lower our blood pressure.

2. Keep you fit and active. It’s recommended we get 30 minutes to an hour of exercise a day, and what better motivation than a pooch who’s got to be walked, rain or shine!

Getting the blood pumping, especially out in nature, is well known to improve blood pressure and heart rate, and keep obesity at bay.

3. Boost your social life. Studies have shown that strangers are far more likely to strike up conversation when there is a pooch (or two) involved.

Our furry friends can act as a conversation starter, ease any nervousness, and show dog owners that they are in the company of a kindred spirit.

Who needs to go to a bar when you can meet people at the dog park!

4. Bring regularity to your life. Your pup thrives on routine and consistency, and honouring that will help bring the same into your life.

Eating, sleeping and exercising with a regularity is known to boost both physical and mental health, so make like your pup and get into a daily routine.

5. Detect and stave off disease. This one may surprise you, but some dogs have been known to sniff out and detect disease, such as prostate cancer, in their owners!

They’re also known to soothe Alzheimer's patients, while service dogs can help those with disabling diseases (such as arthritis, blindness and brain injury) maintain some mobility and independence.

So, we have a lot to thank our canine companions for. As well as the daily delights of living with your pooch, you may well owe your mental wellbeing and a few years of your life to them!

If anything, this is a chance to reflect on and show gratitude to our dogs for everything they do for us, and give them a little extra love today.

If you’ve got any questions about the best ways to enjoy enjoy summer with your dog? Feel free to call us on: 09 448 2227.


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