By Shayla Dablemont, RISQ Consulting Individual and Family Benefits Consultant
“A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk” – O.A. Battista
Fido does more for you than just provide companionship. As if you really need more reasons to cuddle your furry friend, one of the side effects of owning a dog is living longer. According to a study by a peer-reviewed journal from the American Heart Association, dog owners had a 24% risk reduction for death from any cause.
Owning a dog also increases your opportunities to exercise since most dogs need 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day. Often times, pet owners take their dogs on a daily walk to make sure that they are burning energy and staying healthy, little do those owners know that they are also helping themselves. 30 minutes of walking each day can lower your blood pressure, decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and boost your digestion and immune systems.
“Skin hunger” is a term used to describe a human’s need for physical touch and a pet can help to satisfy this need. Studies show that when interacting with a dog, a person’s cortisol levels go down and their levels of serotonin and dopamine increase. This reduces stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Caring for a living animal that provides you unconditional love can boost your sense of self-worth by allowing you to feel needed.
When you get off work after a long day, sometimes you just want to go scratch Fido behind the ears. Now you know why you get that zen feeling when loving on your dog. Please remember that owning a pet is a lot of responsibility and not everyone is ready to make that type of commitment. If you are looking into adding a friend to your family, please your research to find the right fit for you.