Take it easy and chill out with a furry, friendly dog in your life
Dog lovers everywhere know how much happiness and joy their dogs bring to their lives. Most of us could never imagine living without at least one dog in our family. Dogs help us to take it easy and to stop taking life so seriously.
They get up to so much fun and games and can make us laugh hilariously with their antics. You only have to watch the dog videos in YouTube to see how funny dogs can be when they are being their usual selves.
Aside from adding joy to our lives, dogs seem to exemplify the state of taking it easy, being able to live in the moment and not worry about tomorrow. The problem is that in today’s busy world not many of us are so laid back, taking life moment to moment, but that is what we can learn from our furry pooches – how to kick back, take a load off and chill out.
So if you are wondering whether or not a dog would fit into your family, let’s take a look at 10 ways that dogs can help us de-stress and take it easy.
1. Dogs help us deal with depression
Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than people without dogs. This might be due to the boost that we receive from having a dog that loves us unconditionally, never criticizes us and is happy to see us all of the time.
A recent study in Science Magazine has found that feeling good might also have something to do with the increase in oxytocin that both we and our dogs feel when we gaze into each others eyes. The authors of this study believe that this feedback loop might have led to the strong bonds we feel with our dogs.
Children can also suffer from stress with nearly a third saying that they have felt stressed in the previous month. Whilst studies have shown that pets can help adults to take it easy and relax, a recent study in Social Development has found that pet dogs significantly help children to deal with stress.
2. Dogs help us to get outside and exercise
With our busy lives many of us are hard pressed to do any form of exercise. Yes, some of us go to the gym on the way home from work, but too many of us find that we just want to get home, take it easy and relax.
Having a dog makes you get up early to walk the dog before work and makes you go out when all you really want to do is lounge on the sofa.
Adding exercise into your life by sharing your world with a dog is much more beneficial that pounding away on a treadmill in a sweaty gym or alone at home in the spare room or garage.
A regular daily walk helps to improve your cardiovascular system, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your bones and muscles, and can even help you to loose some weight.
3. Dogs lower our risk of heart disease
Most of the beneficial reasons for owning a dog all lead to the same conclusion – that sharing your life with a dog lowers your risk of heart disease.
There are a lot of factors involved with this declaration, but an increase in activity, being able to deal with stress better, lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure all contribute to living longer and lowering our risk of heart problems.
The alternate argument could also be true, that people who are more active, eat better and handle stress easily tend to be more easy going and want to share their lives with a dog.
Whichever way around this goes in the end, dogs help us to live a healthier life!
4. Dogs help us to meet more people
If you normally wouldn’t go out for a walk alone, taking your dog for a walk is one of the best reasons to get out of the house and fill your lungs with fresh air. Having a dog makes everyone much more likely to stop and talk with you, something that is unlikely if you are walking alone.
All sorts of people stop and chat with one another when they are walking their dogs. People will turn off their lawn mower to have a chat, wander down their driveways to take the time of day with you and tinker with their car while you stand and chew the fat.
If you are single, walking your dog is a great way to meet someone of the opposite sex, as it gives your confidence a big boost, especially if you tend to be shy and wouldn’t normally approach someone in the street. Most dog owners find it very easy to talk to people as they are walking their dog and also find making new friends much easier as well.
5. Dogs help us to sleep better
When you are fighting with your dog for possession of your bed, you might not believe that sleeping with your dog can help you to sleep better.
Well for all of you disbelievers, a recent study at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona found that just under half of participants said that sleeping with their pets helped them to sleep better.
These people felt more relaxed and secure at night when their dog slept on their bed with them. Yes, just less than a quarter said that they were woken by their dogs at night, whilst double that said that they had a better nights sleep.
So if you are stressed out and are having trouble sleeping, maybe letting your dog sleep on the bed is a viable solution?
6. Dogs help us to reduce stress
When you are feeling stressed out about work and you grumble and moan all the way home, there is nothing quite like the joy on your dogs face at seeing you open the door to put a smile on your face.
Dogs help us to put aside all of the stress from our day and just take comfort in being with a warm furry body that loves us unconditionally.
It is this love and acceptance that helps us to deal with the stress in our lives in a better way and to lessen its negative effects on our lives. Being able to take it easy and turn off our stress meter is a great boon to out lives.
How can anyone stay stressed out and angry when they have so much love in their lives? So when you arrive home, grab the lead and take your dog for a relaxing walk and by the time you return home, you won’t feel as stressed as you did an hour ago.
7. Dogs help kids with ADD and ADHD
It might be no surprise to learn that kids with ADD or ADHD can really benefit from having a dog in the family. The acceptance and unconditional love from a dog can help these kids to feel less stressed in their lives.
Having a dog can also help ADHD children to schedule and plan ahead, because their dog needs feeding and walking at set times. This can then lead on and help them to live by a schedule for their homework and other family activities.
ADHD children usually have a lot of excess energy, which they can run off by playing with their dog and racing up and down the yard. Other friends might want to come and join in, so a dog can help your child to interact with other children as well.
A study has shown that the Severity of ADHD symptoms can be reduced with a canine assisted intervention compared to cognitive behavioral therapy, so having a dog in your family might just be the edge you need to help your child.
8. Dogs help us to be a better person
Sometimes we just know that we are being selfish and nasty, not considering other people’s feelings and we go ahead and do it anyway. When a dog looks at you with their big brown eyes and their lead ready and waiting, we have less chance of being selfish and a lot bigger chance of forgetting about ourselves and taking the dog out for his or her walk.
Sharing your life with a dog requires a commitment, responsibility and a certain amount of selflessness, making us better people all round. When you have a dog, you learn how to take it easy and be more patient, as there is no point in going off at your dog for taking their time – they are simply enjoying themselves walking along with you!
Dog owners also become more compassionate, particularly as their pet ages and they can no longer run up and down stairs or go for those really long runs anymore. Dog people are generally nice people, so whether only nice people own dogs or dogs make people nicer – who knows? But dog people are nice people 🙂
9. Dogs help us to feel less lonely
Single people, and in particular elderly people, who might have lost a partner, can feel very isolated and lonely. A lovely solution is to share your life with a furry friend, giving you a really good reason to get up in the morning, shower and get out the door with the dog.
A dog will bring structure into your life, something that can be missing if you are on your own.
They can also help you to go out more, whether that is just to the park, for dog obedience lessons, to the local markets or the beach. Dogs give you a reason to chill out and take it easy, having nothing in particular to do, except just walk and enjoy the day.
There are many places that you might not bother to go on your own, but when you can take your dog with you, it helps to break the ice and give you some company. Sitting outside the local coffee shop with your dog for example, can help you to spend a very enjoyable hour or two drinking your favorite latte and chatting to various people, while everyone pets your dog.
Owning a dog when you live on your own is a very good way to feel less lonely and more content with your life. It is much better than spending your time all alone and gives a furry friend a loving home which they deserve.
10. Dogs help our kids stay healthy
Owning a dog can actually make your children healthier, protecting them from certain allergies and from suffering from asthma.
A recent study has shown that if your children have dogs in their lives during the first year of their life, then the risk of school age children and preschool aged children (older than 3 years of age and up to 6 years of age) suffering from asthma is significantly reduced.
This is one of the largest studies undertaken on this subject and will help families to decide whether including a dog in their lives is the best lifestyle decision for them.
Overall, for most people, sharing your life with one or more dogs is simply a way of life, allowing us to take it easy and not stress out about our lives too much – and is something that none of us would change.