Adopting a pet comes with some surprising health benefits for the new owner. For those who truly consider a dog to be man’s best friend, it helps to know the health benefits dogs can bestow on a human being. In fact, some studies show that dog ownership during a health crisis can be just what the doctor ordered. Studies have shown that human-animal interaction increases the oxytocin levels in the brain.  Oxytocin levels in the brain cause many physiological changes, such as:
- a slower heart rate and breathing,
- lower blood pressure,
- inhibits stress hormones, and
- creates a sense of calm, comfort, and focus.
One study published in the journal Hypertension analyzed the effects of pet ownership on cardiovascular responses with people in high-stress positions and suffering from hypertension. The results showed that those who owned pets have a less dramatic response to stress than those who did not own pets. The study measured heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. The researchers hypothesized that owning pets helps people to understand what matters in life and put problems into perspective.
The presence of animals and the need for their care produces psychological stimulation to induce people to take better care of themselves.
Having a dog really can improve our health according to science. Whether it’s boosting our mood, giving us a reason to go outside, or simply keeping us on schedule. Your dog’s got your back!
Allen K, Shykoff BE, Izzo Jr JL. Pet ownership, but not ACE inhibitor therapy, blunts home blood pressure responses to mental stress. Hypertension. 2001 Oct 1;38(4):815-20.
 Odendaal, J. S. J. “Animal-assisted therapy—magic or medicine?” Journal of Psychosomatic Research 49.4 (2000): 275-280.