The Surprising Health Benefits of Dogs

Who doesn’t love a dog? Our dogs aren’t just pets, they’re these beings of boundless energy, friendship, and love. But there’s more to the eye than just a furry, soft coat and sloppy kisses. Dogs offer us some unexpected health benefits that potentially can inspire us and make us healthier.

What are the health benefits of living with a dog?

  1. Dogs Make Us Happier – This is the most obvious one. Just one look at your pup and you can’t help but smile, and that’s even backed by science. A 2009 study in Japan proved that staring into your dog’s eyes boosts your level of oxytocin, the love hormone.
  2. We Can’t Help but Love Them – Dogs have evolved along with humans to have more expressive faces that we’ve dubbed “infant schema.” We’re sure you’ve heard of and been victim to puppy dog eyes, well their expressive eyebrows have kept us wanting dogs around us for centuries – it releases a trigger in us humans to want to be their innate caregivers.
  3. Dogs Can Make Us More Social – It is far easier to relate to another person if they have a dog, but having a dog makes us appear more approachable. One study found that about 40 percent of dog owners found it easier to make friends. Another study out of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine showed that people who are strongly attached to their dogs feel more connected to their human friendships.
  4. Dogs Make Us More Attractive – This goes back to how dogs inspire us to be more social – we look approachable, likeable, and attractive. Due to the popularity of dating apps, analytics have shown that people swipe right more frequently if the profile they’re looking at has a dog (or any animal for that matter) in a photo.
  5. Dogs Inspire Movement – They practically beg us for walks and to play with them, so it’s obvious to see why they would help us create space for more physical activity. A 2019 British study showed that people with dogs are four times more likely to meet daily activity goals compared to their non-dog owning counterparts.
  6. Dogs Are a Calming Presence – Nothing is more comforting when you have a good cry, and your dog responds with cuddles and a kiss. Dogs can be trained to be Emotional Support Animals and have been effective when paired with people with PTSD. But, if we don’t need a professionally trained animal, they still provide the benefits of lowering our blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle relaxation.
  7. Dogs Are Good for the Heart – There was study done between 1950 to 2019 – which is a long time when we’re talking about scientific studies – that found that there is a lower risk of death when you share your life with a dog. Due to the lower stress and blood pressure, it’s clear to see the positive effect they have on our hearts.
  8. Dogs Help with Feelings of Loneliness – The statistics of dog adoptions during the Covid-19 pandemic skyrocketed. With all of us stuck in our homes, whether it be with family members or on our own, it made sense to adopt or get a dog. We had more time, and we were forced into isolation. Without studies though, we know how loved we feel when we spend time with out dog, and how less lonely you feel when you’re involved with caring for and playing with your dog.


Dogs are amazing no matter which angle you come at it – and with the health benefits they so clearly provide us, it’s hard not to love them. Give your dog an extra cuddle today and if the weather is nice, get out and spend some extra time with them.




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