Every Day Should Be National Dog Day...For Our Health
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
Democratic Party nominee for Vice President, Kamala Harris, is a big fan of dogs.
She once posted on Twitter along with pictures of a few pups, “Dogs are always welcome in my Senate office - here are a few paw-licy advisors who regularly stop by.”
I myself am a huge dog lover. My husband Eric and I are the proud ‘parents’ of five German Shepherds. They can be a handful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In my opinion, every day is a day to celebrate these amazing creatures. Not only are they cute, but they can potentially benefit your health in so many ways. For one, dogs are great companions. Reportedly, dog adoptions and sales have dramatically increased since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States.
So many people, especially those that live alone, are struggling with loneliness, depression, chronic stress and anxiety.
“Just playing with a dog has been shown to raise levels of the feel-good brain chemicals oxytocin and dopamine, creating positive feelings and bonding for both the person and their pet,” according to the American Heart Association.
In addition to this, dogs can teach us how to slow down and appreciate life.
“When your dog lies on the floor, bathing in the sun as it streams through the window, it is doing just that — experiencing the sense of warmth that spans across its body,” reports Psychology Today.
“Dogs can inspire mindfulness during an ordinary walk.”And speaking of walks, when you walk your dog you obviously walk yourself as well.
Many people underestimate how powerful walking is, because it may not be as intense as running or riding a bike.
“The cardiovascular benefits of walking are biologically plausible; like other forms of regular moderate exercise, walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress,” according to Harvard Health.
“And if cardiac protection and a lower death rate are not enough to get you moving, consider that walking and other moderate exercise programs also help protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, colon cancer, and even erectile dysfunction.”
According to the American Heart Association, dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease. This is a big deal considering that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both American men and women.
For all the women out there, research has shown that sleeping in bed with a dog may be particularly beneficial to your health and help you get better quality sleep.
Dogs may even be good for our gut.
There is some evidence that owning a dog may improve gut health. You may be familiar with probiotics and prebiotics, beneficial bugs your gut needs to stay balanced and healthy.
According to a report, “[s]ome intriguing early research suggests links between the microbes that our animal companions bring into our homes — and that we breathe in and swallow — and the microbes that thrive in our digestive tract.”
More research is needed but one doctor says, “[e]xposure to animal bacteria may trigger bacteria in our gut to change how they metabolize the neurotransmitters that have an impact on mood and other mental functions.”
So as we can see, there are so many reasons to love and celebrate dogs. If you are allergic, perhaps look into owning a hypoallergenic breed.
“While there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs, there are many breeds that do well with allergy sufferers. Dander, which is attached to pet hair, is what causes most pet allergies in humans and these dogs have a non-shedding coat that produces less dander,” according to the American Kennel Club.
Taking care of a dog is such a joy, but it can also be a lot of work and challenging (especially if you get a puppy). If you are in the Boomer and up club, check out this pH Labs blog that has helpful information on how dogs can help Boomers live healthier lives as well as what may be the best kind of dog to have.
Are you a dog owner or lover?
Happy National Dog Day!
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.