Ah, the age-old family discussion: Should we get a dog? Depending on the family, this question can range from being a no-brainer to setting off a heated discussion. Of course, the decision to get a pet is a very personal thing, and there isn’t one answer that suits everyone. But if you’re on the fence, it may help to review some of the research, because dog ownership has been known to provide some serious health benefits.
Here is a look at four ways that having a dog may good for your health:
1. Getting more exercise: Of course, you have to get off your butt and walk the dog, but research shows that most dog owners do more physical activity than people who don’t have dogs. A 2000 National Institute of Health and Welfare study found that dog owners were more likely than other people to do 30 minutes or more of exercise at least five days a week.
2. Experiencing better overall health: People show improvements in their health, and they engage in healthier behaviors after just one month of owning a pet, according to a 10-month study published in 2011 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. People in the control group who did not own pets did not exhibit any significant changes in health or behavior over the study period, according to the researchers. [7 Surprising Health Benefits of Dog Ownership]
3. Improving mental health: The same 2011 study that showed that pet ownership also held psychological benefits. In the study, 217 people answered questions aimed at determining their wellbeing, personality type and attachment style. In all cases, pet owners were happier, healthier and better adjusted than non-owners, the researchers found. Pets may provide social support for their owners, the researchers said. […]
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