Live Longer with a Dog

There’s good news for dogs and their companions—according to recent research, dogs increase their owners’ lifespans.  A study conducted among dog owners in Europe showed a 21% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease over a 12-year period, and researchers are continually finding new health benefits of dog ownership.

It’s commonly agreed upon that dog owners are more active than those without dogs, since a dog offers constant encouragement to walk or play. 

But researchers also noted that one of the greatest benefits of dog ownership was the effect on mental health. Dogs offer a positive emotional boost, helping to ward off depression and promoting a greater sense of well-being for their owners.

Other benefits of dog ownership include:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Increased opportunities for socialization
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Increased serotonin and dopamine levels

Not ready for a dog of your own? Studies suggest that even occasional interaction with pups has significant benefits, so visiting with your dog-owning friends and family members can have a positive impact on your health.

If you are ready to welcome a dog into your home or want to volunteer or donate to support local dogs, check out these Pottstown area organizations: Diane’s Adoption CenterRecycled TailsMostly Muttz Rescue, and MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue.  (The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation has no financial or other connection to adoption centers, they are listed here solely for reference and convenience.) 

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John Robertson