Can Dogs Help You Live Longer and Healthier?

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Have you taken your vitamins today or been to the gym? In the pursuit of a long, healthy life, many of us try to do what the experts suggest, but what if you were told a dog could help you live longer? 

Studies show having a dog is good for your health and happiness, and may even extend your life! Your doctor will encourage more exercise and having a positive outlook on life, but is not likely to suggest a Golden Retriever or Poodle as part of your live longer campaign. So how can a fluffy, little pup help you achieve this? If you want to live longer, stay on this page.

Signs Your Dog Could Help You Live Longer

Who would have thought dogs could be the X-Factor when it comes to getting a longer lifespan? 

The thought of beating the grim reaper is a massive incentive to owning a woofer. Before you run to the local shelter in search of the Holy Grail, be sure you want a pup for the right reasons. Dogs are the coolest creatures that make every moment a magical event. The fact that they come with life-preserving benefits is a bonus.

What’s got everyone buzzing is a Swedish study involving 3.4 million people that found our pups can help us have more birthdays. "Mercury News" revealed owning a dog can curtail the risk of dying by 11% and decrease the chances of heart disease. People living alone were always seen as at risk, but once a loyal Lab or charming Chihuahua came on the scene, getting in the Guinness book of records as the oldest person on the planet, was deemed possible

A person who shares their pad with a woofer is going to exercise more, and as walking can lower blood pressure, give you lots more energy and take off excess weight, this can lead to fewer health issues. Getting out in nature with your pup is guaranteed to get the endorphins raging and tails wagging.

One Green Planet tells the story of Eric, who was over-weight and warned by his doctor time was running out. Eric was advised to get a dog, so he went to his local shelter and found Peety. Ironically, this mutt was also overweight, so they both started walking every day and began to lose the extra pounds that were putting both their lives at risk. Peety inspired Eric to change his mindset.

Body Language

Here are signs your dog is helping you to live a long, healthy life
  • Ears up
  • Wag tail
  • Howling
  • Panting
  • Play bowing
  • Barking
  • Twitching whiskers

Other Signs

Here are more signs your dog is helping you have a longer life:
  • Exercise
  • Companionship
  • Lowering Your Blood Pressure

The History of Dogs Lengthening Lives

What’s the secret to living 117 years of age? There are people all around the world making it past 100 and all of them have a theory as to why this could be. One man, who is 108 from New York, puts his immortality down to getting up at 5 am and doing pushups. Another century-plus survivor says she eats raw eggs. Soon, we may hear the story of a person beating the clock because they had the love of a dog.

The ancients also saw a connection between longevity and dogs as they used their saliva to heal wounds. In ancient Greece around the 4th century, a healing sanctuary was built with sacred dogs that licked visitors needing a cure for whatever ailed them. A similar alliance was formed by the Aztecs who believed the Mexican hairless dog, known as Xoloitzcuintli, had magical healing powers. The toy Chihuahua was also revered as a benefit to your spiritual and physical health.

You might think that service dogs for the blind were a 20th-century triumph, but according to IGDF, the story goes back a lot further. A mural from the 1st century AD found buried in Roman ruins, portrays a dog leading a blind man. In the 1800’s it was said Florence Nightingale (the lady with the lamp and the creator of contemporary nursing) helped a farm dog with a hurt leg. The next night she had a dream that healing would be her mission.

In the 21st century, the humble mutt is getting rave reviews for its human abilities. The spotlight is on the canine and the secrets that lie beneath. In ancient times dogs were worshiped as gods and sanctified for their healing virtues. Somewhere on the way to the present day, their usefulness lost its divine image and was demoted to companion or working dog.

Science Explains The Health Benefits of Having a Dog

Studies have depicted our clever canines as miracle workers who can slow down the aging process and keep the medical bills out of the mailbox. Our Beagles, Siberian Huskies, Boxers, and Dobermans are part of a special species that work wonders for the human race.

Your dog could stop a heart attack, says the American Heart Association, who took a pawsome look at studies embracing the perks gained by having a dog. People with pups generally get more exercise and lose weight. You’re best not to throw away your medication, but dogs are amazing stress busters, whose upbeat vibes are hard to resist.

If you suffer from depression, your wee Yorkie will help you see a brighter world. Dogs are emotional and can sense what you feel, so they’ll act like clowns just to make you smile.

The Huffington Post featured a great story about a person who had depression and after trying everything from medication to yoga, acquired a Pembroke Welsh Corgi called Buddy. This ingenious pup knew something was wrong and inspired his new pet-mom to get out of bed and face the day. It’s been a while now and Buddy’s guardian believes her caring Corgi was the best medicine.

In the Swedish study mentioned earlier, stockbrokers with hypertension were tested to see if a dog could lower their stress levels. Six months down the track it was found they had. If it works for these guys, imagine the health benefits for all people in high-stress jobs!

Perhaps we should all head for the shelter and bring a dog home. We might just get to live longer.

Training Medical Alert Dogs

Dogs are being trained to enhance and extend the lives of people with medical issues. We’ve learned they are enchanting creatures that fill us with doggy love. Their ongoing service to us is a blessing we're thankful for. They help the blind and deaf and act as a kind of medic alert for folks with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Addison’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease.

That’s pretty impressive for a 4-legged animal that was once a wolf in the wild. So how do you train a dog to be a medical alert dog? Their job is to alert their companion, a medical event is about to happen. A cardiac alert dog lets you know there are worrying changes in blood pressure levels. Some pups are trained to dial 111.

Anything Pawsable, tells the story of Eric, a medical alert dog who is trained to know when his handler is about to have a heart attack or stroke. One day, they were out visiting friends and Eric pawed his handler’s leg. With no reaction, he jumped into his lap and began banging his head against his guardian's chest. This is how he alerts him of a cardiac issue. They quickly left the friends home and as soon as they were home his wife rang the Emergency Department. Eric's quick action had saved his guardian's life.

Cardiac alert dogs are taught to hear variances in heart rhythms and let their owner know. There are dogs that do this naturally, offering another insight into their intuitive gifts.

Take Angel, a Shih Tzu that has never been trained, but was constantly waking her pet mom at night. It was revealed Angel was a “natural responder" and able to sense something was wrong with her guardian. Angel was right, her pet mom got checked out and was told she had a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea - a condition where people can stop breathing up to 10 times a night. Angel responded by bumping her guardian, waking her up and breathing on her face. Angel knew instinctively there was a medical issue before her pet mom did

Our dogs are a constant surprise and very capable of helping us to live longer lives.

How to React to Your Dog Helping You to Live Longer

  • Take up walking with your pooch.
  • Thank them for alerting you to a medical condition.
  • Enjoy hanging out with your dog - they are good for your health.
  • Be aware when they are trying to show you something is wrong - it might save your life.

Tell Us How Your Dog Helps You Live Longer!