Yes, your best canine friend may smell bad at times, especially after finding something nice and stinky to roll in. But, is this something which you should worry about making you sick, or are there health benefits of owning a dog?

The short answer is yes, there are health benefits of owning a dog. And, for a variety of reasons–not the least of which may have to do with their…fragrance.

Here is what you need to know about how your doggy is keeping you healthy, and why those who are not yet pet-parents should adopt a best friend ASAP!

Stinky? Perhaps…Healthy Though!

So, Fido may not be the epitome of hygiene. To some, this may be reason enough to keep dogs away, since as we all know, GERMS ARE BAD!

Or are they?

True, there are some pathogens which can make you ill, although there are far more beneficial or benign bacteria than there are bad ones–about 90% good or benign to 10% bad, in fact.

And, according to studies, those who grow up with pets have stronger immune systems, and are less susceptible to illness and allergies than those who grew up “clean.” This is because just as your muscles need work and resistance to grow stronger, so does your immune system.

And, part of the work and resistance  comes from “fighting the enemy,” such as bad pathogens. For instance, flu vaccines introduce the pathogen your body needs to fight into your system, which helps bolster your body’s defense against it.

So, this means that some bad germs are necessary in keeping our immune systems healthy.

And the best news?

You can give your immune system a nice, healthy workout by giving your best buddy a much-needed belly rub (seriously, doggies need loads of ’em!).

And, these are just some of the health benefits of owning a dog.

Too Tired For a Walk? Never!

So, it’s been a long day, and you’re simply too tired to go out and get some air in your lungs.

However, that enthusiastically wagging tail says otherwise!

Not only can your pooch get you out on regular walks, a dog can also make the perfect running partner.

And the best part (or the worst, depending on how you look at it)?

No excuses, no laziness, no being late to the trail head–just unbridled enthusiasm!

This helps both of you, since dogs need daily exercise just as you do, since as we know, regular exercise can:

  • Help maintain bone density
  • Reduce the risk of some cancers
  • Reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes
  • Help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system
  • Get sun exposure, which is necessary in your body’s production of vitamin D
  • Help maintain a healthy, positive outlook
  • Help maintain muscle mass

So go for a walk, play a game of fetch, go for a run, or do all three! Exercise with your best friend couldn’t be any better–or healthier.

Feeling Low? Guess Who’s Here to Help!

Besides being your guide on the best sniffing safaris you’ve ever been on, a dog’s most important job can that of your therapist.

Is an overbearing boss causing you grief and depression? That’s nothing a wag of the tail and a smooch on the nose can’t fix!

And, there is no one who can listen better to your problems, or get you out on a de-stressing walk better than a pup.

Want more proof?

Oxytocin is known of as the “love” hormone, since it is released at times such as hugging or cuddling with a loved one.

And, guess what else triggers its release?

You guessed it–petting your pooch!

In fact, it is a two way street, since studies also show us that when your dog gazes at you, they too are getting a good dose of these feel-good hormones.

So in other words, your doggy staring at you is his or her way of giving you a long, affectionate hug!

Seriously, could there be any better health benefits of owning a dog?

Finally–Are There Health Benefits of Owning a Dog?

So are dog owners healthier people? Yes, in so many ways, they are. By helping your immune system muscle-up, getting you out and exercising, and being there for you when you’re feeling down, dogs are the best!

And, if you are not yet a pup parent, what are you waiting for? With so many doggies in need of homes at your local shelter, it is time for you to stop depriving yourself of the unconditional love and loyalty of a pooch. Seriously, the bond you will form can rival that of your closest human relations.

So pet your pup and be healthy–you’ll be happy you did!