Your Dog Keeps You Healthy
Although you probably already assume that having a pet is very beneficial to your health, a new study conducted by Sandra Barker, PhD, professor of psychiatry, and director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University finally proved that dogs truly keep us healthy.
In the United States alone, more than 57 percent of households live with at least one pet. We love our pets and they love us back. Dr. Parker found that dogs help us avoid loneliness – since they need to be taken on daily walks, we have a better chance of interacting with other people when we walk them. Besides, having a pet enables us to take care about another living being.
They also help us stay in shape physically and mentally. Barker confirmed that a study in Japan showed that people who walk dogs were healthier than those who walked alone.
In addition, exercising with your dog lowers your chance of getting osteoporosis and being around pets lowers blood pressure.
Preliminary studies conducted by Dr. Barker’s School of Medicine Center for Human-Animal Interaction research team documented that interacting with dogs help us psychologically and physiologically.
“We found that spending between 15 and 30 minutes with an Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) dog reduced anxiety and fear in patients hospitalized on an acute psychiatry unit. These patients also believed that AAT helped with their depression as well.”
And finally, dogs make us feel happy.
“Our studies have primarily focused on human-canine interaction. Other researchers have found benefits from interacting with other species as well. I think the key may be less the species and more the attachment people develop with their pets.”