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7 Reasons Why Rescuing A Puppy Means Rescuing Your Health

They're so much more than your BFF.

From forging an unbreakable bond with your furry friend to creating a healthy daily schedule, there are so many reasons why rescuing a puppy is just as much a way to rescue yourself. We’ve partnered with PEDIGREE® brand to celebrate seven ways dogs can boost our health and happiness.

1. Provide Unconditional Love
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Is there anything better than the pure happiness and excitement that comes over your puppy every single time you return home from your work day? There’s something so comforting about returning to your furry friend after even a few hours apart. Ask any dog owner, and they’ll gush about this sense of unconditional love.

And it turns out that feeling of unconditional love has been confirmed by a study published in Science journal. Animal behaviorist Takefumi Kikusui led a research team at Azabu University in Japan to study the bond between humans and their dogs, and found that it’s all about the gaze. The study measured oxytocin levels in dogs who spent time bonding and making eye contact with their owners, with the results suggesting that human-dog interactions elicit the same kind of positive feedback oxytocin loop that bonds mothers to their infants. No wonder you think of your dog as your baby!
2. Boost Heart Health
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Spending time with your new sidekick will undoubtedly warm your heart, but it can also strengthen your heart. A scientific statement released by the American Heart Association suggests that owning a dog could lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. The AHA statement references scientific studies that prove the link between pet ownership and reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity. The AHA also points to the link between owning a dog and increased levels of physical activity. Every time you take your dog out for some exercise, you’re also strengthening your heart and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease!
3. Ensure Regular Exercise
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All those daily walks are just as good for you as they are for your dog. Whether you’re looking for a way to get back in shape or already lead an active lifestyle, adding a daily dog walk to your routine is a great way to ensure that you prioritize your health on a daily basis. A Michigan State University study found that dog owners are 34 percent more likely to achieve the American Heart Association’s recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week than non-dog owners. And there’s no better rain or shine companion than your dog to keep you sticking to your new fitness resolutions!
4. Create Healthy Habits
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All those daily walks help to create a regular daily routine built around healthy habits. From feeding to walking, dogs demand routine around a set daily schedule, which can help their owners also form health-boosting habits. A study done by the British Journal of General Practice highlights the link between repeated actions that are triggered by contextual cues—or habits—and overall health. Forming habits such as eating a healthy breakfast before walking the dog can help change our overall diet by making healthy behaviors feel automatic and therefore much more likely to be repeated and incorporated into a daily routine. And speaking of creating healthy routines, dog owners will naturally be incorporating more exercise into their daily schedule by walking their furry friend.
5. Manage Stress
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Modern living can feel like living in a constant state of fight-or-flight, but dogs can have a positive calming effect. Several studies have found that playing with your pup can increase levels of oxytocin in your brain, stimulating the feel-good hormone while lowering the stress-producing hormone cortisol. And if you’ve ever worked in a dog-friendly office, you know how much breezier an average workday can be if you take breaks for a quick belly rub or game of tug-of-war with a four-legged friend.
6. Be More Social
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Part of walking your dog in the park every morning means running into the same faces, both dog and human, along your route. Dog owners have a special common bond, and walking your pup is a great way to meet people in the neighborhood and cement new friendships. And you’re more likely to be in a social mood if you are feeling the stress-busting hormones that dogs help unleash! Consider your next happy hour at the dog park.
7. Alleviate Allergies And Asthma
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Our immune systems are wired to ward off potentially harmful substances with antibodies, but allergic reactions are triggered when normal substances such as dust are misidentified as threats. It turns out that your dog can boost your immune system, too. Children’s risk for developing allergies and asthma is lower in those who have been exposed to a dog from infancy, and a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and the University of Michigan explains why. According to the study findings, living in a home with a dog changes the makeup of our gut microbes, making us less reactive to common allergens. And exposure to dust from homes with dogs can protect the lungs’ airways, which reduces the chance of asthma. You’ll want to thank your dog for your healthy immune system!

The many proven health benefits of becoming a dog owner make the bond between you and your dog all the more special. At PEDIGREE® we believe that dogs bring out the good in us—and that healthy, nutritious food helps bring out their best.

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