Pet News

The ways in which dogs benefit people’s health

Preston Speaks
Written by Rachel Phelps

My pals at Dogs Corner were recently  telling me about how us dogs help keep our humans healthy.  I thought, well, that’s great!  The healthier my mom and dad are, the more things we can do together like walks and trips. So I asked them to share with you all  what they learned today!

There has been a tremendous amount written about the health benefits of having a dog. Everything from anecdotal evidence to serious academic study seems to suggest that dog owners are, in general, fitter than those without a canine companion. And for anyone that has tried to keep up with a young pup that probably comes as little surprise! Here are five ways in which owning a dog can help to keep you fit and healthy!

A healthy heart

This really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Dogs need exercise, and in making sure that they get it, you are also keeping yourself active. Walking your dog may not feel like a particularly rigorous workout, however, it is the regularity with which dog owners walk that is likely to keep them fit. Studies have shown that dog owners have lower cholesterol and blood pressure than non-dog owners- and this is almost certainly due to the cardiovascular workouts which come from dog ownership.

Interestingly, research by the American Journal of Cardiology reported that male dog owners that had suffered from a heart attack were much more likely to survive the year following their attack than non- dog owners.

For a range of toys and activities that will definitely help give you and your dog a good work out, visit!

A great companion

Loneliness can have terrible affects upon people’s general health, especially for the elderly in the aftermath of losing a spouse. A pet can be a great way of providing companionship and introducing order and routine back into daily life. For the elderly the amount of exercise which a dog needs might seem prohibitive, however, there are hundreds of old dogs in rescue homes up and down the country that no longer require hours playing in the park.

Don’t panic

There has been much research conducted upon the therapeutic effects which dogs can have.  A paper by the Medical College of Virginia stated that animal therapy was significantly more effective in treating the anxiety of mental health patients than traditional methods. There are also numerous examples of pets being used to help those suffering from agoraphobia, lack of self-confidence and panic attacks. It seems undeniable that the love and companionship which a dog provides can be a real confidence booster.

The therapeutic qualities of dogs are now so well recognised that there are organisations which facilitate dog visits to hospitals and old people’s homes up and down the country.

Good for kids

Research suggests that kids with dogs are far more likely to partake in regular, vigorous exercise than those that don’t. In a world of PlayStations, Facebook and Angry Birds, it can be a struggle to get kids outside and active. There can be few better ways of achieving this than a dog! As well as keeping them active, a dog also teaches children about compassion and nurture. All children should grow up with a respect and affection for the natural world, and being around a pet is a great way to instil that.

No more colds!

Hands up- this one does sound a little dubious! However, the University of California has conducted a study which shows that mice are protected from the common cold by the dust found in homes which have dogs. There has been much anecdotal evidence that children that grow up with dogs are less prone to asthma and other complaints- and it appears that this research could provide the scientific theory behind it.

It’s probably a bit early to say that your dog can cure a cold- but it is safe to say they can play a really important role in keeping us all healthy, fit and happy. This article is written by the team at, an online community and shop for dog owners, supplying everything from dog beds to dog coats.

We would love to hear any stories which you have about the health benefits of dog ownership in the comments below.


About the author

Rachel Phelps

Rachel Phelps, “America’s Pet Parent,” is an award-winning writer, photographer, and certified dog trainer. She keeps busy managing the career of her Internet celebrity dog Preston from Preston Speaks. Her three Westies — who think they are mini-humans — and three cats rule the house. To learn more about Rachel go to: Rachel Phelps Website

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