Among all of the joys of owning a dog, the potential for better health is one of the biggest benefits. It is generally accepted that pet owners are healthier overall. Scientific studies back up that notion in general, although the evidence is actually not as strong as is sometimes suggested. However, there is data that shows lower blood pressure and greater cardiovascular health in dog owners. They also can be terrific stress-relievers. Whatever the data, the potential for greater health is there.
We do have to take advantage of this potential, however. If you get a dog, thinking that you will suddenly become active, running and playing with your pet as your canine leads you to better health, you might be disappointed. Without some other self-motivation, you could continue an unhealthy couch potato, with an unhealthy couch potato of a dog on the cushion beside you. This is simply hard on the dog as well as on you.
On the other hand, if you are fairly active already, then a dog can go a long way toward helping to motivate you. Also, a dog can make exercise a lot more fun. If it is hard to get motivated to go for a run, then contemplating your dog, who wants nothing more out of life than to be taken for a run, can provide the necessary impetus. Also, if you simply can’t face another hour on the treadmill, then taking the dog to the park and running a few wind sprints will give you a refreshing change of pace. A walk, run or hike is just a lot more fun with a joyful, furry companion along.
The mental and physical health of your dog will often be a statement about your own activity. A dog’s health and behavior is a direct reflection of the kind of time that you spend with your dog. If you have an overweight dog, or a dog with many behavior problems, that is a nearly-sure sign that your dog needs more exercise. On the other hand, a dog with a calm but happy disposition, a gleaming coat, and bright eyes is almost certainly one that spends plenty of time out walking or running with its owner. Let that motivate you when you just can’t face another workout.
The mental and physical health benefits of having a dog are numerous.