5 Ways Dogs Can Improve Your Life

Today is Take Your Dog to Work Day. In addition to making a great friend and work companion for the day, research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits.

1. Allergy Fighters
A growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with “furred animals” will have less risk of allergies and asthma. If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies (19% vs. 33%). They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching.

2. Love Connections
Dogs are a natural conversation starter. This especially helps ease people out of social isolation or shyness.

3. Helping the Elderly
Some studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home. Walking a dog or just caring for a pet can provide exercise and companionship.

4. Good for Mind and Soul
In one study, stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets. Also playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine — nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.

5. Good for the Heart
Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies. Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease — lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels — than non-owners, researchers say.

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