Benefits of Petting a Dog

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. July 19, 2017
Benefits of Petting a Dog

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You may already know the array of advantages to having a pet at home and in particular, having a dog. But did you know dogs can reduce stress or blood pressure? And that they can strengthen our immune system and prevent a sendetary lifestyle?

In this AnimalWised article we will explain all the benefits of petting a dog, both physical and psychological. Although many people will have experienced these first hand, there are many people who cannot imagine the postive effects petting a dog can bring. So, keep reading to find out!

You may also be interested in: Benefits of Having a Cat

Reduces stress and anxiety

Did you know that the main benefit of petting a dog is that they help you decrease levels of stress and anxiety in your body? And not only you but also your pet. Because for them, having contact with you also relaxes and tames them when they are uncontrollable.

What is the reason for this? Because the frequency of our brain waves associated with the decrease of the stress hormone (cortisol) increases significantly after spending time petting a dog. They help us to calm down and feel better. This explanation is part of a study by psychiatrist Sandra Baker in Virginia (USA) which showed that people, both children and adults, who interact with animals in general are less stressed. In some countries it is common to find employees who bring their pets to work and are much less stressed than in other countries where this activity is not practiced.

Therefore, petting a dog can also help people with depression or anxiety, improve their mood and make them feel less nervous or apathetic.

Benefits of Petting a Dog - Reduces stress and anxiety

Prevents heart problems

It is also shown in several studies internationally, such as the American Heart Association and the thread of the previous section, another of the benefits of petting a dog is that it helps reduce the heart rate and blood pressure of people.

And the simple fact of touching a dog or talking to them, makes you relax as we mentioned above and also, it also lowers the rhythm of the heartbeats. Therefore, people with heart problems are advised to have a dog at home. Apart from learning to be more responsible, they also stay more active because they have to go walk their pet a few times a day obligatorily, and exercise is also recommended for people who suffer heart disease.

Benefits of Petting a Dog - Prevents heart problems

Improves your immune system against allergies and diseases

Another benefit of having a dog is that they help you strengthen your immune system, precisely because they are always full of bacteria and germs! In a world where everything is "over-disinfected" by industrial chemicals that allow us to thoroughly clean up all that we need, we are becoming more vulnerable to contracting allergies or diseases. This is because we are not exposed to the germs that our defenses must fight in order to strengthen themselves.

There are even studies showing that babies who are raised in homes where there are dogs are less likely to develop allergies or asthma throughout their lives for this reason, especially if the babies have been in contact with dogs or cats before 6 months.

Increases physical activity and improves social life

Having to walk your pet for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, makes even less active people get outside and off their couch! Therefore, another benefit of having a dog is increasing your physical activity. And much better if you perform some sport on the side!

Many people go to the same park or site every day to walk their dog and it is common that we always see the same faces and meet the same people. Then your dog starts to play with other dogs and you get to talk to the respective owners. Thus, these animals help us to be more sociable and to interact with other people!

Some studies have shown that people who have dogs rely more on fellow dog owners to communicate in public and are therefore more likely to bond.

Benefits of Petting a Dog - Increases physical activity and improves social life

Improves your emotional state

Everyone knows that people who have dogs are happier than those who do not, and that petting and close contact with them helps us stay calmer. In addition to receiving affection, we release endorphins and in turn, these helps us live longer.

Who doesn't like being greeted every day when they return from work to their loving dog? Having a dog is even recommended for people suffering from loneliness or depression, it does not have to be only older people. Dogs help improve their emotional state by offering them company, a shoulder to cry on and unforgettable moments without asking anything in return.

Benefits of Petting a Dog - Improves your emotional state

They even help some medical therapies

Dogs are so fantastic at improving our emotional wellbeing that they ar even utilized in some medical therapies to rehabilitate patients. They aid people with autism, socialization, or other physical and psychological diseases.

This therapy is known as zootherapy, more specifically as canine therapy, and consists of treating people with sensory activities in which dogs intervene. These animals are called therapy dogs and blind dogs are also included.

Benefits of Petting a Dog - They even help some medical therapies

How to properly pet a dog

Finally, it is important to know that there are different ways to pet a dog and depending on how we do it, our pet will interpret it a certain way.

If you caress your dog in a fast and stressful way, this will cause them to get upset and nervous. However, if you caress your dog in a gentle and slow way, especially on their back, on their stomach or on the chest, you will transmit a sense of calm and tranquility. Therefore, you will be relaxing your pet at the same time as you are relaxing yourself.

So we have proven, not only do we gain benefits by petting a dog ourselves but it is a reciprocal act. We recommend you to dedicate time to pet and caress your dog every day to make them feel ( as well as you ), loved and cared for.

If you want to read similar articles to Benefits of Petting a Dog, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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