Health: Dogs are good for our own

Something many of us already knew has made USA Today headlines this morning:

Having a dog DOES improve your health

Janice Lloyd cites different studies that indicate dogs are good for our mental and physical health in several key ways:

– Dogs encourage exercise and physical activity even among children. One Australian study found a 50% decrease in childhood obesity linked to having a pooch in the family

– Dogs create community. I definitely felt that I became a member of an entirely new community when Lucky, the first Big Black Mutt, joined our home. People said “hello” a lot more often and every walk had several people stopping to inquire about his breed. Lisa Wood, another Aussie researcher, found that “pet owners scored higher in gaining trust, making connections and helping out neighbors than non-pet owners”

– they help us heal. Janice cites Patricia McConnell, an animal behaviorist, as claiming the more a dog looks at an owner, the higher the owner’s level of oxytocin, a hormone aiding relaxation

– they teach us about unconditional love. Ayup. We know this!

So give your pooch a scratch and tell them “thanks” for all they do for you everyday just by being there!

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