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Canine Companions

Reasons Dogs are Man’s Best Friend

By Camp Bow Wow


It’s the new year. Everyone’s setting resolutions and focusing on good lifestyle habits. Have you thought about the human health benefits of owning a dog? There are many reasons dogs are known as man’s best friend.


A furry family member can be a great catalyst to get out us and moving. Whether it is a hike at one of San Antonio’s local parks or trails or a stroll around the block, our pups provide the extra motivation we need to get off the couch. A 2019 British study discovered that dog owners are nearly four times more likely than non-dog owners to meet daily physical activity guidelines, maybe because they spend nearly 300 minutes every week walking with their dogs!


Owning a dog can help you live longer. A comprehensive review by the AKC of studies published between 1950 and 2019 found that dog owners had a lower risk of death. Pup parents have lower blood pressure levels and improved responses to stress. They also had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone. Reduced stress can even decrease risk of stress-related heart attack, even among those who had experienced previous coronary events. 


Petting a pooch can lower heart rate and blood sugar level, slow breathing and relax muscle tension, which can reduce the risk of several illnesses. Scientists at Washington State University discovered that just 10 minutes of petting a dog can have a significant impact, offering comfort and easing anxiety.


Struggling with depression? Your canine companion can be there for you when people can’t. He’ll offer unconditional love, emotional support, and constant cuddles that help stave off social isolation, especially in senior adults or others who live alone. One study found that pet therapy improves the cognitive function of residents with mental illness in long-term care. Another showed significant decreases in agitated behaviors and improved social interactions in seniors with dementia, the AKC reported. Dog owners are known to have higher levels of serotonin and dopamine in their systems which makes them happier than those without a pup.


And if you are single and looking to meet that special someone, make sure Fido features prominently in your social media posts and dating app pictures. Researchers asked individuals to rate people in photographs and found that people looked happier and more relaxed when they appeared with a dog. A study by Pet Wingman found that men and women swipe right more on those who included a photo of their pup in their profile.


Fido’s physical presence helps break the ice. Walking with a canine companion can make you seem more approachable and create a conversation starter. So, take your furry family member on errands or plan excursions with him in mind. He’ll be the perfect conduit to make new friends. Men were even more likely to get a woman’s phone number when they asked when their pup was with them, the AKC noted!

Whether you’re looking for Fido to be your wingman, your couch cuddler or your exercise buddy, your perfect pooch partner is just waiting for you at one of San Antonio’s many rescue organizations or shelters.

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