They’re Not Only A Best Friend- Here Are 4 Curious Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

They’re Not Only A Best Friend- Here Are 4 Curious Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

It’s not just about long walks, cuddling by the fire and barking at danger – having a dog in your life is good for your heart, your baby and more.

Dogs are a welcome presence in many households, and for good reason: they’re cuddly, warm and interactive, and can offer some protection, depending on the breed. But there’s more.

If you’re thinking of investing in a pet, check out this list of reasons you might not have thought of, for getting a new four-legged pal:

1) It Can Give You A Hearty Healthy Heart

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Having a dog around offers emotional comfort, which can also be great for your health. Studies have shown that dogs as pets can lower your cholesterol, as well as your blood pressure and triglyceride levels, reducing your risk of having a heart attack.

Related: Dog Yoga and 5 Other Strange Yogas You Should Know About

Part of this is due to #2- the fact that having a dog gets you on your feet and more active, more often-but it’s also because of the social support and bond between dogs and its owner. It’s rewarding- and because it’s so fun, it can make you want to get out even more.

2) It Can Improve Your Baby’s Immune System

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A new study done by researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada has shown that having a dog in the home vastly improves babies’ immune systems.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure why this is true. They don’t know whether it’s because people pet dogs and then pass their own bacteria to the dog’s fur, which is then passed on to the next person who pets it, or if it’s because the dog picks up dirt from the surrounding environment and passes the bacteria onto the baby.

But its certain that there’s a benefit.

Amazingly, dogs are carrying bacteria that, when passed onto babies, lowers their risk of developing allergies and obesity.

Related: Some Dogs Can Detect Cancer With 95% Accuracy

In fact, the effect is strong enough to double the amount of good bacteria in a baby’s gut. It works up to three months after birth-expose them early!- and even on babies in the womb.

It’s all about increasing the abundance of two bacteria, Ruminococcus and Oscillospira, something dogs apparently do quite well.

Is it a big deal? Kind of. Researchers are saying that it’s so beneficial that science might create a “dog pill”, sort of like what was done with probiotics, for those who don’t have one around.

3) It Can Build Your Circle of Friends

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Having a dog to take care of can get you out, meeting new people. Dog runs, walking groups and dog events can all be great places for new friendships to flourish around a common interest.

4) It Can Help You Lose Weight

All that early morning and late-night walking can also help you shed any extra pounds. According to the experts, in order to stay healthy, we should be getting about 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week.

Related: Dogs Can Detect Diabetes

It’s not that much, really, but sometimes it’s still hard to hit the target. If you need to get out and walk your pet though, you’re pretty much getting this amount of exercise…and maybe more.

To adopt a dog today, visit your local pet rescue, or click here.

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