Humans and dogs have shared relationships for ages and ages, if humans did not gain anything out of dogs, then why would they keep this relationship for so long? Research has been done to find out exactly how far back it is that humans have had this special bond. Current studies estimate that dogs were first tamed around 40,000 years ago. 40,000 years is an extremely long time for any type of relationship to co-exist for, so what is it exactly about owning dogs that makes people want to keep doing it, year over year? One could also raise questions about how people needed to depend on them much more in the past for protection, for your house or your animals, and hunting needs. In this article we are going to discuss various research that has been done that shows that dogs do contribute to human health and overall happiness, by making us not only happier, but also physically healthier and more well equipped to deal with stress.
One of the areas where owning a dog has seemed to have a direct correlation with one’s physical health, is that they will make you live longer. An article published by Medical News Today states that having a canine companion actually reduces your risk of premature death by up to a third. Analysis was performed on 3.4 million adults concluded that those who owned a dog, were at a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality over 12 years, compared to those who didn’t own a dog. This study was not designed to see exactly which factors had correlation, but whether there was an overall correlation for those who owned a dog. There has also been studies done at the University of Harvard which concluded that dog owners have a lower risk of heart disease. They stated that some of the factors that could contribute to this is that not only do dog owners get more exercise because they walk their dogs, but dogs also have a calming effect on people when they get stressed out. These results are also supported by this study which states that pet-owners are more likely to go on walks for leisure than non- pet owners. There is lots of research that has been done into how owning a dog affects your physical health and the evidence overwhelming points to the fact, that owning a dog does improve one’s physical health.
There has also been a very interesting study which was done that shows that children also benefit from having a dog in the household during childhood. Two studies completed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found multiple benefits to having a dog in the house with children. One of the studies showed that babies who were born in a house with a dog during pregnancy actually received protection from allergic eczema until they are 10 years old. The other study showed that dogs may also provide protection to children with asthma, even if they are allergic to dogs. They believe that exposure from something such as bacteria that the dog carries protects against asthma symptoms. These are two good reasons to get a dog when having a child if that is an option. Owning a dog will not only help your own psychical health, but it also helps the psychical health of children in other ways.
Dogs also make people generally happy. Maybe it is just how excited they get when you get home from the grocery store, or how they start jumping up and down when you fill their food bowl, or even how you feel the excitement in them when you are about to take them for a walk. But all of this is because our oxytocin levels shoot up when we interact with them. Oxytocin is a hormone that is often referred to as the “love hormone” because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially. This hormone being so related to social bonding makes it boost our psychological well-being very well. Studies have shown that this causes people to have more positive social interactions. Dogs also appear to reduce symptoms of depression in people, which is why they are often used as therapy dogs or emotional support animals.
These are only three different areas where dogs will improve your general well-being. Dogs clearly have a strong positive benefit to have in your life which may explain a little bit as to why our relationship with these canine creatures has lasted as long as it has. It sounds like a win-win situation for both the dogs and the owners. The dog gets a spoiled life, compared to being a wild animal, and then the owner gets different benefits on many different levels. So, clearly there is strong evidence to conclude with the statement that, dogs do have a positive impact on an owner’s health and happiness.