A Dog Can Be Good for Your Health

Dog parents live happier, healthier lives, and that’s a fact.

According to a recent study of more than 3.4 million people, owning a dog is linked to living a longer life for a lot of reasons — primarily, a decrease in the risk of disease.

In addition, nursing homes, college campuses, and hospitals are using dogs to help improve health and make people happy. In fact, researchers studied 246 college students, and after just a single session with these furry “MDs,” the students reported significant reductions in stress and an increase in happiness and energy. But the benefits don’t stop there! 

Just petting a dog can improve your health

No doubt, if you’re a “dog person,” you probably know that there’s an emotional benefit from your four-legged friend’s unconditional love. Think about returning home after a long, hard day at work, only to have a lot of the badness licked away when your dog greets you at the door. Studies show that “lick therapy” is just part of it.

  • Physical Health: Petting a dog can reduce physical ailments and improve overall physical health. Canine therapy has been linked to a decrease in blood pressure, decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, lower overall physical pain, and more.

    Having a pup also helps get you out of the house for your daily dose of exercise, which, as we all know, has its own set of health benefits.

  • Mental Health: The act of petting a friendly pooch actually releases oxytocin, also known as the “bonding hormone” or “cuddle chemical.” Oxytocin has been proven to not just lower stress, but also reduce anger and help with depression.

    And how could we leave out the fact that owning a dog allows you to meet other dog parents? It might even help you find that “special someone”...which can certainly boost your mood.

  • Children's Health: Children who live with a dog or cat during early childhood years may have a decreased risk of developing pet allergies and asthma later on. 

    Children with pets are also more likely to be physically active and less likely to be overweight. 

Dog therapy without having a dog

If you’re unable to reap the rewards of being a pet parent, there are other ways to get your pet-therapy fix, like volunteering at a local animal shelter or becoming a Wag! dog walker.

As you might expect, we have some statistics to back up the Wag! walker benefits. Since our 2015 launch, Wag! walkers across the country have taken more than 10 trillion steps while walking dogs. That amounts to almost 800 million calories burned. Talk about a side hustle that’s a big step forward — in more ways than one!

Still not convinced a dog can help your health? Just imagine that puppy in the picture up top running your way to share his unconditional love. That's gotta improve your mood, right?