Dogs have been our companions for thousands of years but have you ever stopped to wonder why? There is the obvious answer which is the fact that we have a symbiotic relationship with dogs. Historically, we have provided them with food and shelter while they provided us services such as guarding and herding. To learn more about the human-canine bond, you can read this article: https://thefrenchiemamablog.com/2021/06/23/the-human-canine-bond/
For now, we are going to delve a little deeper and go beyond the human-canine bond to discuss why dogs are good for our health: both physical and mental.
Why Dogs are Good for Your Physical Health
With each new study, it becomes increasingly evident that dog ownership is good for our health. Dog owners have been shown to have lower blood pressure compared to people who do not own dogs. Dog owners have been shown to have lower resting heart rates than people who do not own dogs. Dog owners have been shown to have a reduced risk of hypertension than people who do not own dogs. Dog owners have been shown to have an improved response to stress as compared to people who do not own dogs. The American Heart Association has cited studies showing that dog ownership is linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. Even the CDC cites that pets lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides.
We all know one of the best things we can do for our overall health is get up and exercise and in addition to the before-mentioned health benefits, dogs also help us exercise more. Dog owners, on average, exercise more than people who do not own dogs. It has been shown that after adopting a dog, a person’s time spent exercising increases dramatically. People who walk their dogs regularly are less likely to be obese. Obesity leads to many health issues such as heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and has been shown to increase the likely hood of a mental illness. Speaking of mental illness, dogs can also improve your mental health.
Why Dogs are Good for Your Mental Health
Let me start by saying I believe the subject of mental health should be discussed more openly. There is a stigma around mental illness, yet many people suffer from some form of mental illness every day. In fact, approximately 25% of individuals in the United States experience some form of mental illness in varying degrees. To put that in perspective, 1 in 4 people living in the United States are currently experiencing a mental illness. With so many people included in this statistic, it is imperative to talk about it to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness. It has been shown that individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses who own dogs show lessened symptoms of the mental illness. This has been demonstrated in individuals who have PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression. Simply being around dogs and petting dogs releases hormones that reduce stress. Being around animals also reduces feelings of loneliness which often accompany mental disorders. Owning a dog can also give a sense of purpose which can be of the utmost importance to someone experiencing a mental health issue. Finally, we come full circle to the topic of exercise. Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but it is also good for your mental health. So, get out there and take your dog for a walk! If you are on the search for a great harness, I highly recommend the health harnesses from the Frenchie Store. They are made specifically for French Bulldogs and come in a wide array of cute patterns. Right now, it is too darn hot for long walks, but you can still get out there and exercise. You may consider this IREENUO Dog Stroller, 4 Wheels Pet Jogger Wagon Foldable Cart, Adjustable Handle, Zipper Entry, Skylight Window Stroller Suitable for Variety Roads with Back Pocket for Medium Large Dog Traveling Red which is the stroller I use for my three frenchies. Or if bike riding is your exercise of choice, I also love this Schwinn Rascal Bike Pet Trailer, For Small and Large Dogs, Small, Orange. A great idea I have seen other frenchie parents do is attach a fan to their dog stroller to keep their frenchies cool. Here is a fan made specifically for stroller attachment: Stroller Fan,Portable Handheld Battery Powered(2600mAh) Clip on Fan with Flexible Tripod, 4 Speeds Ultra Quiet 360 Degree Rotatable, Personal Mini USB Desk Fan for Stroller/Camping/Car Seat/Golf Cart(Black).
Whatever form of exercise you choose, get out and do it. As you have read here, exercise combined with spending time with your pets is good for your health: both your physical and mental health! Let’s do this!