Yet Another Reason Why Dogs Should Be Your Friend!


Proactive Health

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder


President Joe Biden and I actually have something in common. We both like German Shepherds! My husband Eric and I are the proud ‘parents’ of four German Shepherds. They can be a handful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Unfortunately for President Biden, back in October several news outlets reported that he had to kick his two-year-old German Shepherd named Commander out of the White House due to some biting incidents. Apparently, Commander kept attacking Secret Service personnel. Yikes! Thank goodness no one was seriously injured.

Presidents and their dogs.

I think many would agree when I say that being president of the United States has to be one of the most stressful jobs in the world. It’s no wonder why so many U.S. presidents have been dog owners while in office. I know the stress relief I get when I take my dogs on a hike (When You Walk Your Dog, Remember You’re Also Walking Yourself!) or how comforting it is when one of my Shepherds puts his head on my lap for me to pet (5 Reasons A Dog Can Be A Boomer’s Best Friend).

“Former President Donald Trump did not have a dog or any pets when he was in the White House, which broke from a tradition among presidents that dated back over a century. The last president to not have a dog before Trump was William McKinley from 1897 to 1901,” according to a report from Yahoo.

A former presidential dog that got a lot of attention from the public was Obama’s dog named Bo, an adorable Portuguese Water Dog that sadly passed from cancer in 2021.

Our dogs are more than our pets. They really are our family members and can be so important to our daily lives and health. 

Dog interaction may reduce stress and anxiety.

A recent study conducted by researchers from Konkuk University in South Korea found evidence suggesting that interacting with dogs can “increase brainwaves associated with stress relief and heightened concentration,” according to this Medical Xpress report that discusses the study.

The study looked at specific activities with dogs, including taking pictures, playing with a hand-held toy and giving treats, and how these interactions affected the participants (it was a small study of just 30 participants, however, what sets this study apart from others is that most animal interaction studies do not look at specific activities the way that this study did).

“Participants wore electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes to record electrical activity from the brain while they interacted with the dog, and they recorded their subjective emotional state immediately following each activity,” reports Medical Xpress.  

(pH must-read - How to Be Proactive About Your Brain Health with an EEG)

“The relative strength of alpha-band oscillations in the brain increased while participants played with and walked the dog, reflecting a state of relaxed wakefulness. When grooming, gently massaging, or playing with the dog, relative beta-band oscillation strength increased, a boost typically linked to heightened concentration.”

The participants also said they felt less tired, depressed and stressed after all activities done with the dogs.

Just to provide more perspective on how stress-relieving interacting with dogs can be, an elementary school in North Providence, Rhode Island brought a therapy dog in the school for the children.

“When they come in and they see the dog they want to greet the dog and after that you can tell that they just have released a little bit of stress, they're more willing to participate in the activities, talk about different things," said Christina DiLorenzo, a social emotional learning coordinator for the school district, for a story with NBC News.

This is a common practice in schools in North Providence. I hope the rest of the U.S. will follow suit. If you have a young child begging for a dog, you might want to consider getting one for their mental and emotional health. Dogs can also teach kids a lot of compassion and responsibility.

Learn about the various types of therapy out there.

Aside from talk therapy, which can be goode for mental health and wellness, there are other types of therapy you might want to take advantage of. For example, there is:

  • Nutritional therapy. “Nutritional Therapy uses food to prevent and reverse diseases that plague most western societies: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, and depression. In order for food to be therapeutic, it must be nutrient-dense, measured in part by the nutrients and anti-nutrients [for example, processed foods and ingredients], contained in consumed foods,” National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Ocean therapy. Many of us have experienced going to the beach, walking past the shoreline and letting the ocean’s water submerge our feet. We take a deep breath, smell the salty air, and exhale. It’s relaxing, rejuvenating and even relieving. I used to casually refer to this experience as ocean therapy. However, you should be aware that there is an actual ocean therapy program that was started in 2003 by a young woman, lifeguard and graduate student named Carly Rogers.  
  • Cryotherapy. The use of cryotherapy in general has been endorsed by many in the medical community. In fact, a survey of emergency physicians in Ireland found that 73% of consultants frequently “prescribe” cold as a treatment for inflammation (the root cause of many health issues), among other conditions. 
  • Ozone therapy. The goal of ozone therapy is to increase the amount of oxygen in your body.  This higher level of oxygen is thought to boost your immune system, improve blood circulation, reduce oxidative stress and promote natural healing.  Proponents of ozone therapy claim that it is beneficial for a wide variety of diseases and conditions.
  • Light therapy. Researchers observed that administering light therapy to Alzheimer’s patients appeared to improve sleep efficiency (time spent asleep while in bed), reduce agitation and even help with depression. 

As always, the goal is happy and healthy longevity. For more information on the potential health benefits of being a dog owner, check out Every Day Should Be National Dog Day...For Our Health.


Enjoy your healthy life!


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.    

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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