Friday, April 20, 2012

Better Than A Boyfriend???

Anyone who has ever loved a dog has experienced that feeling of sheer excitement your dog has for you when return home from a rough day at the office.  Just the adorable way his whole body shakes as he swiftly wags his tail or that apparent smile on his face as his tongue hangs out of his mouth. He doesn’t care where you’ve been or why you stayed out so late.  He's just thrilled to see you…no questions asked!  It warms my heart just thinking about my dog's sheer unconditional love for me.

Well as it turns out, woman’s best friend may just be better for you than your husband or boyfriend.  Anecdotal and scientific evidence shows that dog owners (and pet owners in general)  tend to be healthier than the average person. Think I am crazy? Well think about this…

Better than Drugs for High Blood Pressure-
Yes, it’s true. While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, in a recent study, groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets!

Take Me Outside Mommy-
It’s no secret that dogs require walking and frequent exercising, forcing owners to be more active too.  According to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Public Health, people with dogs spent more time doing moderate to vigorous physical activity than those without.  Canadian researchers found that dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes per week, compared with non-dog owners, who walked an average of 168 minutes per week.  This doesn’t take into consideration the frequent games of catch or trips to the dog park.  Who knew?

Bad Mood?
Ever try hugging your dog after a bad day at work?  For those who love animals, it’s virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours. Research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of pet ownership as they followed a group of men with HIV/AIDS and discovered they were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet.

Got Stress?
Did you know that the simple act of just playing with Max or Sheba can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, causing you to calm and relax.  And while we all know the power of talking out your issues with friends and family who’s also a good listeners, recent research shows that spending time with a pet may be even better. Researcher have proven that when one is  conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present.  Probably because we all know that our pets don’t judge us; they just love us.

Not that I would ever advocate using your canine as a "Man-Magnet," but try taking your dog to the dog park or your favorite dog-friendly restaurant.  Dogs have shown time and time again that they have a funny way of bringing people together.  Almost every time Maxamole' and I enjoy a day out on the town, complete strangers (both men and women) stop us to chat. It also doesn't hurt that he's so darn cute...and friendly too. Not lonely?  Well, even I was surprised to learn that people with pets enjoy superior self-esteem,  and suffer less depression due to an optimistic mindset that companionship with animals engenders. Now for, this explains a lot.

Unconditional Love-
Speaking if that powerful four letter word... This is probably the best reason of all to own a dog. The man in your life may tell you he loves you, but is it unconditional? Pets can be there for you in ways that your man can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent at snuggling. If there is no one special in your life at the moment, then consider your furry friend to be the best antidote to combat loneliness. In fact, research shows that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when they spent time with other people. They didn't even have to own their furry little friends.

Did I mention that dogs have been known to detect low blood sugar?  Or how about detecting various types of cancer in their owners, when even their owners didn't suspect anything was wrong? And the list doesn’t stop there.  I'd be remiss if I didn't include those dogs that are trained to help those with other health issues such as autismseizures or the service dogs that assist with blindness.

I'll be the first to admit that dog ownership isn't for everyone.  Outside of the sheer dedication that is required to be a responsible pet owner, just the time, patience and financial obligation is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. The expense of pet ownership can be much more than you think. If it's not the hours of rug cleaning from house training, then it could be the replacement of your favorite shoes because Sonny found a new chew toy.  But at least in my experience, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

Now,  if I could only get my man to be just like my dog... life could truly be Heaven on Earth!!!  Hmmmmm???  I might be on to something...

1 comment:

  1. So DJ, you KNOW I am NOT a pet person, but I am glad that Max brings so much benefit to your life. Who knew? - Kristina