Do dogs prevent illnesses? Yes, they do. Dogs actually make their guardians healthier. Dog guardianship not only helps us recover from illness, but dogs can also help prevent some diseases from occurring in the first place. Here’s a list of the top ways dogs prevent illnesses and help us lead healthier lives.
Dogs Prevent Illnesses
Healthier Social Life - People with dogs connect with more people, more often. In fact, dogs are a great conversation starter. People consistently report that they are more likely to talk to someone who has a dog with them than someone who is by themselves.
Healthy Hearts - We’re not just talking about healthy hearts because of the love we have to give. Dog guardianship actually reduces the risk of heart disease. We walk our pups and are more likely to get exercise with a dog under our care. There have also been pet studies that have shown people who already have heart conditions or have suffered a heart attack, are statistically more likely to live a longer life if they are a dog guardian.
Reduced Stress - Dogs are often employed as therapy dogs, but even without training, simply having a healthy relationship with an adopted fur-baby can lower blood pressure and decrease the level of stress hormones in people. Quality guardianship also soothes dogs, so the relationship is mutual.
Better Overall Mood - People with pets of any kind tend to be happier as long as they tend to their pet’s needs. They report the feeling of responsibility and purpose makes them feel more accomplished, purposeful, and less lonely. Dog guardians are also more trusting, and they report a sense of belonging, meaning, and more control in their lives. Statistically, they will also visit the doctor less often for minor problems.
Boosted Baby Immune Systems - Decades of studies have shown that babies raised in households that include pets are less likely to develop allergies and asthma. Ideally, adding a fur-baby to the family before our human baby is six months old is best. Families with dogs and cats also report fewer colds and fewer ear infections than households without pets.
Support for Kids with Autism - In general, children relate better to their peers with autism when pets are present. This is partly because pets change the social dynamic. Children working around animals tend to view each other in a more positive light and also show improved ability to work together.
Improved Mental Health - There numerous studies touting the positive psychological effects of dog and animal guardianship. Pet guardians tend to be happier, healthier, are more likely to be well-adjusted, and have more social support. Having a healthy relationship with an animal also adds therapeutic dynamics that are beneficial for some mental health conditions.
Better Coping Skills - There are incredible benefits in pet guardianship, but developing a healthy bond with a service dog is even better. Dogs can be trained by professionals to pick up on cues from their guardian when something is wrong, making them helpful for those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders. Dogs can learn how to recognize and alert their guardian when they are exhibiting anxiety or paranoia. In doing so, they help their guardian recognize early signs and seek help. This provides mental and emotional support and stability.
Cancer Diagnosis - That’s right. Dogs are a phenomenon and can sniff out cancer. Right now, their abilities are only used in research to try and discover how to extend their abilities to electronic cancer-sniffing devices. While the dogs won’t see any profits from their contributions, the human race will enjoy better health. Dogs can also sniff out and alert their guardians to other health conditions and emergencies.
Diabetes Control - Those with type 1 diabetes can partner with a canine companion that will alert them to important changes in their blood sugar level. They can detect dangerous levels before their human can feel any symptoms and can take a blood test. Low blood sugar emits a scent that trained alert dogs can detect, and they’ll let their partner know with whining and licking.
Seizure Alerts - Dogs can also be trained to detect and act quickly when a seizure is eminent. Some will snuggle up close to their owner to help prevent injury during the seizure. Others are trained to bark and alert their guardians and others that a seizure is about to happen so they can take action.
Active Lifestyle Support - Service dogs assist in creating a better, safer, more enjoyable and active lifestyle for the visually and hearing impaired by helping them across the street, alerting them to the doorbell, and other important daily tasks.
Some canines are wonderful partners who help us choose a more healthy lifestyle. Others are trained to help with daily tasks or to alert us to health dangers. And others actually prevent life-threatening scenarios.
If you have a wonderful story about your canine companion saving your life or doing a good deed, please share it with us on social. If you don’t have a fur-baby, consider adopting from a no-kill shelter. Every dog deserves a loving forever home, and clearly there are health benefits to sharing our home with a canine companion. Dogs prevent illnesses and promote healthy lifestyles. Let's share our homes and give our canine companions a healthy life too.