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How Owning a Dog Can Help to Reduce Stress

Having a dog can reduce your risk of stress related health issues like heart attacks.

By Heidi TPublished 4 years ago 3 min read
Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

Having a pet and having a dog specifically has been linked to many medical benefits. Pets ultimately help to reduce loneliness, stress, cholesterol, depression, and blood pressure. Who knew having a dog could bless you with the gift of life.

The Research

It wasn't until the 1980s that the world of medicine stumbled on reliable data proving that pets had a significant impact on human health. A couple of researchers from The Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society inadvertently looked at pets as a survival factor in the lives of people sent home after being hospitalized for a heart attack.

The duo found that patients with pets had a much better survival rate than patients without pets. Patients with pets had a mortality rate of 6%, while patients without pets had a mortality rate of 28%.

Current research shows that the owners of dogs are 65% less likely to die after a heart attack than people that did not have dogs. Studies have also found that non-dog owners are 24% more likely to die from any cause than dog owners.

Overall, research shows that not all pets can protect you from having a heart attack. Owning a dog is explicitly better for your heart and overall health than other pets.

Pet Ownership and Psychology

Research done by pet companies on the people they are selling products to have shown that people have specific reasons for having pets. The number one reason being that pets can deliver a better connection than another human. Some other factors are:

  • Loyalty
  • Total Devotion
  • Complete Love
  • Unconditional Love
  • Pets used as a status symbol.
  • Pets that serve a function, such as taking the place of a child.
  • Pets used for aesthetic value.

Why Are Dogs Different?

Researchers have found that dogs are the best common pets that excel at mirroring human emotions. That and the fact that interacting and connecting with a dog is much more straightforward than another human.

For the above reasons, people have an easier time creating stronger bonds with dogs than other pets. Perin, a researcher from the 1980s, believed that the human-dog relationship most closely resembles the mother-baby bond in human relationships.

How Can a Dog Help Me?

Having a dog or a pet will substantially reduce your stress. People are super busy today, and people are also social creatures. Having a dog to take some of that burden or you can be beneficial.

A dog will get you out of the house when you don't feel like it. This can be enough to motivate you to do other things like go to the gym and take care of yourself in different ways.

Stress relief and inspiration to do more can keep you calmer and lower your cortisol levels. When your cortisol is lower, you are less likely to:

  • Drink or Use Drugs
  • Overeat
  • Blow Up At People
  • Chronic Apathy
  • Have High Blood Pressure
  • Procrastinate Healthy Activities

The Benefits of Having a Dog

Having a dog can reduce your stress and influence you to lead a healthier lifestyle. Owning a dog will provide you with an unwavering companion and lower your risk of death as well as a heart attack. If you would like to find a do that will live longer than other breeds check out the science behind dogs and aging here.

If owning a dog would make your life more stressful. Then please consider a different pet or waiting to get a dog. Pets and dogs as pets are only helpful if you want them there. Enjoy your health and enjoy your pet!


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