The Curious Inter-Dependence of Man and Dog
(The beautiful, positive effects of dogs on human beings!)
Since ages, there has been a fascinating relationship between man and animal. The number of zoological parks in the current day is evident enough that, even today that relationship between man and animal continues to stay.
But, from the yesteryears of predator-prey-hunter relationship, over the years, it has evolved into a master –pet relationship, stressing on the companionship and unlimited love and affection that is showered on each other. And the first and foremost animal that fits this definition of unlimited love and affection is the dog.
Dog as a pet
Ask anyone with a dog as a pet, whether they can live without their dog, even for a day. The immediate answer would be, “No Way!” The undying love, devotion, and affection that a dog showers on its owners are facts that non-pet owners can barely understand. Most human beings keep dogs as pets for the companionship that they crave; a companionship that knows no boundaries and limits. Such is the beautiful connection between human beings and dogs. Just as dogs are faithful loyalists, following their master everywhere, owners themselves do no venture out in any place where pets/dogs are not allowed. They would rather stay back than leave their doggy behind.
Agreed that there were times when dogs were kept as watchdogs to protect the house or properties. But, as the time passed by there has developed a curious inter-dependence between these souls. One is there for the other. While one gives shelter and food, the other is a faithful companion following the master everywhere. So much that the dog understands every single thing that goes on in the master’s life!
A dog’s purpose
Many people have dogs as pets for one or many reasons. The purpose that they serve can be said to be very characteristic and peculiar, varying from owner to owner. But, nevertheless, there are several reasons as to why humans keep dogs as pets. Take a look at some of the following reasons.
Reasons why human keep dogs as pets
- Some people simply love pets. Period!
- People feel that they add value to their lives. Having dogs as pets simply makes life even more beautiful.
- And then there are some, who crave for companionship. Most of the time, this could be a great reason for people opting to keep dogs as pets. They feel that a dog is there throughout with them, by their side, without leaving them. This craving for companionship is fulfilled through this loyal association that dogs have with humans.
- Having a great compassion towards four legged animals and other pets. There are many generous souls who actually love to take care of these animals. They are so used to having animals and other pets around them that they would not trade any pet for absolute silence!
- Some keep dogs for security reasons. They believe that they can protect them. They get a secure and safe feeling with dogs around.
- There are some, who keep dogs as watchdogs, especially when they have a large farm and a huge livestock to take care of.
- Another reason people keep dogs as pets is for vanity and to show them off. They love to show off their status symbol. A few dog breeds such as the Poodles, Dalmatians, Pugs,and Maltese etc. are all kept as a show off symbol. In fact, there are other dog breeds too which get some exclusive privileges like grooming at an exclusive dog parlor and other such special treats.
- A dog is also a perfect work partner. There are many individuals who love to go on hikes and adventure trips. And in these situations, their dogs become the perfect partners for these individuals.
- Many times, dogs are very easy to understand. They do not have complicated reactions requiring serious deciphering skills. It is simple language with them. There are no complicated undertones. Simple language, simple levels of communication and simple needs and unconditional love are some of thethings that sum up a few individuals’ reasons for having dogs in their homes.
- They are perfect play partners. The kind of entertainment that they provide with their adorable antics is matchless.
- Dogs provide many forms of services. There are some breeds that can be trained so efficiently, that they can assist the elderly as well as also help in assisting blind and deaf people.
- And last but not the least, medical reasons. Dogs are known to lower the stress levels in people. Some people battling depression and other anxiety and stress related issues are often suggested to keep dogs as pets because they help these people come out of their medical issues. With their affection and bubbly appearance, dogs can bring a smile even on a sad person’s face.
Super Powers – Super Dogs
Dogs have some really cool super powers. Their sense of smell is so great that they are trained in many areas that actually help the entire human race. There are dogs which are trained and inducted into the police and army.
They help in nabbing robbers and catching criminals. They assist in law enforcement. This kind of immense service can be provided by none other than a dog. Intruders are scared of dogs. The always have to be careful if dogs are around. A dog’s super sense of smell is so much that it can catch or lead to criminals very easily.
And then, how can we forget the little things that these dogs do around the house? Once trained, they can help in doing different small errands, making life much easier. They can put the food on the table. They can get the newspaper from the front door and they can also help in keeping little things at their places in and around the home.
Dogs – a constant source of happiness!
Ask any owner, whether their dogs are their source of happiness? A majority of them would answer in the affirmative. Their dogs are always a constant source of happiness in their lives. Even in the last days of a dog’s life, they only know how to give! Such is the beauty of a dog.
There are so many ways dogs make humans healthier, that it is incredibly astonishing. But, when they provide such great source of happiness and purpose in one’s life, then it is certainly believable that dogs can make humans better and healthier. They have many benefits that they give to the human folks!
21 Ways dogs make humans healthier
Most of the aspects in which dogs play a beneficial role in a human’s life are not just off the mill. In fact, some are backed by scientific studies and research. Veterinary medicine scientists and researchers of medicine constantly conduct studies to understand the effects of dogs on humans. And the result is not surprising to dog lovers, as they are already enjoying the benefits.
1. Dogs help in reducing stress levels
Dog owners will definitely agree to the fact that dogs help in reducing the stress levels.
After a hard and stressful day at work, when pet owners get back home, there is a significant difference with a pet around. A dog gives the warmest welcome that one can ever get. Not just one day, this welcome is repeated day after day, with not even a single iota of difference. Just by seeing a doggie, they get to forget all the worries and stress simply vanishes. The playful nature of the pet dog diverts the attention and they slowly begin to relax.
Now imagine a situation without a pet dog to welcome. Individuals would probably end up doing is coming to an empty home, snacking on junk and unhealthy food, brooding over things and watching television. Their stress levels are either the same or even at increased levels.
Note the substantial difference in the above-mentioned scenario. It is quite obvious that dogs are much more beneficial to humans.
2. Dogs are mood enhancers
The powerful mental and physical health benefits that dogs bring along with them on humans are pretty strong. They have a tendency to make human feel much better. They enhance the mood and the feel good factor.
An associate director at the Center for Animal Wellness, Missouri University College of Veterinary Medicine,Dr. Rebecca Johnson, conducted a study to measure the hormonal changes in dogs and humans. They also used a robotic dog in the study. It turns out that people petting their own pet dogs or even unfamiliar dogs have higher levels of serotonin in the blood, which is a feel-good chemical. This is what makes pet owners always happy when around pets enhancing their mood always.
And the robotic dog remains a technological advancement. It does nothing to the human health! Obviously, there is no comparison between robotic dogs and real dogs.
3. People with pets have better social support
Studies suggest that the social support that pets/dogs provide is really immense. They help in making humans more relaxed, with decreased stress levels. There is more meaning to life.
This increased social support leads to increased social interactions with other people. Even strangers can become friends, just because of a pet dog. This, of course, makes a huge difference in the lives of many people.
4. Better interpersonal relationships
The increased interactions that dog owners have with the other people and other pet owners make them better at their relationship between others. People who seem to be unapproachable will appear to be more approachable. This makes interactions very easy. And any communication which is good helps in an individual becoming a better and happy individual.
5. Dog is a social magnet
Man is a social being. A constant interaction with other humans is one of the basic requirements that humans always crave for. And dogs play a great role in this. They are like social magnets, where they allow even strangers to interact with one another. And this interaction clearly has a beneficial effect on humans. It is easy to begin conversations with people having pets than with people who do not have pets.
When pet owners walk their dogs, the number of people who actually greet them are more. This daily contact sometimes helps to build beautiful relationships with people in the community.
6. A sense of community
Dog owners have this peculiar sense of community between them. Just as a new mom can relate to another new mom, dog owners too can relate to other dog owners. And conversations just start off without much hesitation, with dogs by the side. Everyone is available to give any kind of help that the other dog owner might require. Probably, this kind of help may not be so forthcoming from other people.
Dogs essentially are active animals. As responsible owners, owners must take them out for regular walks. This benefits not only the dogs but also humans. Being active is very vital for one’s health. A sedentary life causes many problems and lifestyle diseases.
But, with a dog around, owners are forced to be active. This makes people also go outdoors more often. Going outdoors has more health benefits than one can imagine. Breathing in the fresh air, getting the required dose of Vitamin D, and getting some amount of exercise are some of things that can be achieved by being active and dogs help in their sweet way in achieving these.
8. They help lower cholesterol levels
The beauty of having dogs is that they help humans in many ways. Each benefit leads to another benefit. Being active is considered very important as it is very advantageous to humans and dogs a like.
An active lifestyle brings with it so many good things that one can see a remarkable change in the health. Having dogs around makes one active and an active lifestyle is the precursor to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This has been proven to be right, time and again in many scientific studies involving human and dog interaction.
9. Dogs help in lowering blood pressure
In a study conducted by Dr. Karen Allen, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Buffalo, it was found that the volunteers who interacted with dogs reported significantly lower blood pressure levels when compared to others. In fact, the role of drugs and medication in lowering the blood pressure levels could be brought to a minimal as it was found that dogs were better and effective at lowering the blood pressure levels.
10. Healthier hearts
Several studies have shown that dog owners have healthier hearts. If you believe in scientific studies then that should be reason enough for you to believe this fact. Even otherwise, one look at some of the above-mentioned ways where dogs have a positive impact on human health should be proof enough that they are beneficial to the heart health of the humans.
Studies also show that pets are good for people having some kind of heart problems. Heart attack survivors tend to live longer and have better health when around dogs, as compared to non-pet owners.
11. Stronger bones and better arthritis management
Staying active has a great share of benefits. And with a furry buddy beside, it is even more awesome. The benefits of exercise also show up in the form of stronger bones and better management of arthritis in human beings. So, just going outside for awalk with dogs or playing Frisbee with pups is having the best of both worlds – Good health and enjoyment.
12. Lesser allergies and better immune system
Babies and children growing up with kids have lesser allergies. The immune system in these children increases over time.
The kind of disinfecting that many people resort to is often harmful. Some amount of germs and bacteria are required to develop resistance in the body. With dogs around, they help in an indirect way to build this resistance and thereby causing lower allergies in babies in children.
According to pediatrician Dr. Gern, dogs are full of germs. They are balls of fur and dirt. By getting exposed to these allergen and bacteria, children can develop stronger immune systems.
13. Fewer visits to doctors
Fewer allergies and a stronger immune system translate to fewer visits to the doctor and getting sick, less. And this certainly is a great health benefit that anyone could ask for. If you are healthy and active, with a strong immunity, you are certainly on top of the world.
14. Dogs help fight depression and loneliness
There is no doubt about this fact. Doctors often suggest patients to raise a dog to make some patients come out of loneliness. Loneliness is really bad. It takes a toll on the mental health of a person. This slowly leads to many other tendencies that are detrimental to one’s health.
Loneliness often leads to depression. And being in a depressed state of mind makes humans go out of control. They sometimes do not stick to schedules. They are not accountable for things. They slowly but gradually lose interest in life. But having a dog around in the house helps combat this. With a dog, one needs to go out, stick to schedules, and be it food, walks or other such stuff. Even if they prefer not going out, dogs help these individuals suffering from depression, by engaging them in many activities that require movement, going outside, meeting people etc.
People suffering from isolation too can feel the good effects of having a dog. They no longer feel isolated. They have someone by their side always. Dogs also help in socializing, thereby helping their owners overcome this problem of isolation.
Dogs help their owners by making them laugh, giving unconditional love. Many times, individuals crave for this unconditional love, a little bit of socializing and acceptance. And dogs give them just that. And so, these individuals’ mental health is much better with dogs around and they significantly lower the levels of depression.
15. They are therapy agents
Dogs can be trained well. They are very good at being therapy agents and professionals. Especially around children who have faced severe trauma, these therapy dogs can help bring them out of their shock. Many children who have been in situations that have caused immense trauma seem to hole up themselves. They do not talk to anyone and always appear lost.
But with dogs, they can talk anything. Children seem to be happy with these furry counselors. Whatever children talk, dogs seem to understand and give them that solace and help that these children need.
And so, many dogs are trained to be really good with children. It is some kind of an innocent relationship between these two. Each being there for the other! Dogs are good listeners. They are here just to lend their ear. They are not judgmental.
16. Can be trained to help individuals with ADHD & PTSD
ADHD and PTSD are all neurologically-based disabilities. They have similar patterns of behavior in the affected individuals. Dogs can be trained in sensory overload and safety parameters. Disruptive behaviors can be replaced with better behaviors due to the individuals’ interaction with dogs. And with dogs around, individuals can remain safe.
People with many forms of neurological disabilities, sometimes behave in a manner that is not considered normal. They may just bolt away or wander away in the public. But with trained dogs around these individuals, these instances are pretty much lowered.
17. Social support for autistic children
The fact that dogs can be trained is very clear and evident. This training helps human beings lead a very better life. Dogs can be trained so well that they can be good around autistic children and adults.
Research has found that children can relate better to each other in a classroom when pet dogs are around. Children do not differentiate each other and have a positive outlook, even on children having autism. And therefore, dogs help and play a good role in the social interaction of autistic children.
18. Help in controlling anxiety and promote calmness
The calming and soothing effect that petting a dog is incomparable. It is matchless. Having dogs around and petting them relaxes people and children. Anyone displaying anxiety feelings can easily overcome these, with regular interactions with dogs.
Dogs also promote a sense of calmness. Cuddling and petting a dog has some serious after effects, making people happy and calm.
19. They can detect cancer and seizures
Dogs are tuned to human bodies. They know what is normal and what is abnormal. Any slight changes in the human body can be detected by a dog even before an individual realizes it. So, this is still a mysterious thing, as to how dogs can detect seizures and the changes that happen. But they detect these and help alert people around.
Studies made in the past, as well as the ongoing research, indicate that dogs can sniff out cancerous cells. The earliest of these studies dates back to 1989, where a study verified that dogs can detect cancerous cells, was published in “The Lancet”.
Dogs are able to detect many forms of cancer including skin cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer etc. A few pet owners have shared their stories, wherein their dogs were the first ones to detect that something was not very alright with them, prompting them to go to the doctor. This has certainly helped in the timely detection and medication given to the patients at the right time.
20. Dogs help in detecting decreasing levels of blood sugar.
Arguably, dogs have the best sense of smell. They can smell the blood sugar levels in an individual. They can be trained to do that. But at times, dogs have it naturally in them. They are so sensitive to the changes around them that they are able to detect sudden spikes and crashes in the blood sugar levels. These dogs alert their owners who can then take the required medicine.
21. They can give better lives for the elderly and those with language disorders
Dogs can make the lives of many people, including the elderly and those with language disability, better. They can help these individuals to a great extent. Dogs can understand simple commands and can be trained to help the elders very effectively.
The Bottom line
No one can rule out the immense mental and physical effects that dogs have on humans. They complement each other. Dogs are sometimes the sole reason where many people have found a true meaning to their lives. Dogs give a purpose to the life. They help people overcoming many challenges in life.
Times are not always the same. There are good times as well as bad times. But a dog is always at the side of his master, being a faithful and loyal companion for life. And that’s why it is said that a dog is a man’s best friend.
The kind of comfort and support that dogs provide isunrivaled. Right from helping autistic children andelderly people lead better lives, they also help in making their owners physically active. Thus, making their owners lead better and healthier lives. With dogs, there is a better possibility of making healthier lifestyle changes, which would otherwise be impossible to achieve effortlessly.
Dogs have super powers. They have the ability to feel the grief and happiness of human beings. Pet owners can vouch for this fact. Dogs can sense the feelings of grief and pain of their owners and other family members. And just by their presence and the warmth feeling that they transfer to their owners, they slowly help alleviate the pain. Without words being exchanged, they can do it. Thus, they help their owners overcome the grief and the mental unhappiness. Dogs have a capability to turn some unhappy situations into happy ones. Their adorable barks, funny faces, make people forget their worries. Directly and indirectly, they do great service to mankind.
But, remember, owning a dog is a great commitment that requires immense responsibility. They have many feelings. They can do anything for their owners. Just as they keep their owners happy and healthy, dog owners must also ensure that their pet is well looked after and is happy and healthy!
Happy and healthy dogs – Happy and healthy owners!