11 good reasons to get a dog

From making you smile to saving your life and everything in between, here are 11 reasons why you need a dog in your life.
 
  • 11 reasons to get a dog - but which one?
    Stephanie Lowe
    Last updated: 16 December 2013, 17:13 GMT

    If ever you needed an excuse to buy a puppy, here are 11 reasons why a four-legged friend can be good for you, your health and that of your family.

    Dogs prevent bullying

    Bullying has been a huge problem for a long time, and people are finally doing something about it. And so are dogs. Experimental programmes have been launched that bring dogs into schools to promote empathy, with the lesson that you shouldn’t treat people badly because you wouldn’t do it to a dog.

    Thus far, kids have been able to make the connection, and this will hopefully continue to be the case.

    Dogs are comforting

    A study by Goldsmiths College showed that dogs are more likely to approach someone in distress or crying than someone who is not. This proves that dogs are empathetic and eager to comfort people in pain.

    They will comfort you when you're upset

     

    They can detect cancer

    Due to their incredible sense of smell, dogs have shown up to 99% accuracy when tasked with detecting lung cancer in patients.

    A dog makes you more sociable

    Forget Facebook, the British Medical Journal has concluded that dogs act as “social catalysts” which help people get out more. And human interaction, after all, is beneficial for human health.

    Dogs build up babies’ immune systems

    A recent study showed that babies who share a home with dogs are healthier than those without, reporting fewer coughs, colds and ear infections. Researchers believe the reason for this is because dogs track dirt and germs, boosting the child’s immune system.

    Dogs are great for babies' immunity

    They can detect low blood sugar

    That sense of smell can do even more - dogs can also detect low blood sugar in their masters. They will either alert the person that the sugar has dropped or, if a diabetic attack has already occurred, will bark and bark and bark in an attempt to attract help, thus working to save the diabetic’s life.

    They reduce work stress

    The International Journal of Workplace Health Management discovered that offices which have a dog are less stressful and that workers are happier in their jobs compared to those in dog-free offices.

    Dogs can reduce work stress

     

    Dogs prevent eczema in kids

    Studies have shown that children under the age of 12 months who live with a dog are much less likely to develop the chronic skin condition.

    A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2011 followed 636 children and found the rate of eczema was lower among kids who lived with a family dog. In fact, even among kids sensitive to dog allergens, having a dog did not increase their risk of developing eczema.

    Elderly dog owners go to the doctors less

    Studies have found that older people who own dogs average at least one doctor’s appointment less per year than those who do not. This can be attributed to the positive vibes and good feelings that dogs bring out of their masters, even in the worst of times.

    walkies keeps you fit too

    Owning a dog improves mental health

    Many dog owners feel their pet is healthy for them because they make them feel good. Doctor Ambrose, a medical practitioner and dog owner, feels that owning a dog improves a person's state of mind, therefore improving their health.

    In a sector study of people over the age of 60, it was found that even the most highly stressed dog owners in the study saw their doctors 21 percent less than non-dog-owners.

    A dog can save your life

    OK, it’s a little dramatic but for people whose peanut allergies are so severe that even minuscule residues in the air can trigger an allergic reaction, a peanut detection dog can come in handy.

    These dogs, after going through vigorous training, can detect the trace presence of peanuts in a room, such as a biscuit left on the table or a chocolate bar hidden in a lunch bag.

     

     

    Stephanie Lowe
    Last updated: 16 December 2013, 17:13 GMT

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