Why having a dog is good for you

Glynis Barber Health 6 Comments

I had a dog for 12 joyous years. We all loved him to bits and were devastated when he got ill and died 6 years ago. As anyone with a pet will tell you, losing them is just like losing a family member and is heart breaking. I always intended to get another dog but felt we needed time to recover from the loss. Time marched on and suddenly 6 years had passed. It started to feel like a big commitment to get another. Did I really want the hassle of toilet training again and having to go walkies twice a day? Of not just being able to go out for as long as I want or go away without having to organise care?

But deep inside I knew that I should have a dog in my life

My husband and son were resistant. Very resistant. But something inside made me completely ignore them and I got one anyway. The cutest, fluffiest little maltipoo pup.

Glynis with Gigi on White Bench

Glynis with the little Gigi

On the first night after no sleep, I thought what have I done?

And let me tell you, toilet training is no walk in the park. And is currently very much an ongoing situation. My carpets are ruined. But you know what?

I don’t care because I’m madly, deeply in love

As are my husband and son. They are so smitten it’s actually slightly embarrassing.

We’d forgotten how wonderful it is to have a dog as part of the family. The incredible joy and hilarity they bring.

But here’s the thing, having a dog is good for your health

The main reason is that being close to your dog increases production of the hormone oxytocin. Also known as “the love hormone” it’s linked to feelings of affection and happiness. Pets in general have been found to help people deal  with uncertainty. Most people admit to talking to their pets and find they are wonderful companions. Hard to feel lonely or isolated when you have your furry companion next to you.

It’s even been found that women sleep better with a dog than a human!

Make of that what you will. Apparently there’s a heightened sense of comfort and security. It can also reduce nightmares.

It’s amused me to be reminded that once you have a dog you instantly become part of the dog community.

I will literally talk to anyone who has a dog

Knowing they will respond like I’m a long lost friend. I would never normally be comfortable with a complete stranger coming up to me, chatting and asking questions. But if they have a dog, no problem. The one thing we all have in common is that we LOVE our dogs.

All of this means that our little furry beasts are stress busters

There is nothing more relaxing than having your little one (or possibly enormous one) come up to you for a little snuggle and cuddle. Stroking an animal is very de-stressing and you can just feel all that lovely oxytocin being released.

In fact research has shown that pets can lower blood pressure, relieve depression, reduce allergies and asthma in children and improve the prognosis in people who have suffered a heart attack.

All I know is that I’m so glad I got our little Gigi. She’s put a spring in my step and a smile on my face. Life is definitely better.

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Comments 6

  1. Having a pet in your life is fantastic, I love my Persian cats and now have another fur baby after sadly losing my other, she needs alit of care but all worth it. x

  2. Dear Glynis,

    I agree, they give so much love, I had three dogs, and lost them all within a space of 20 months due to illness and old age, the house was so empty, I now have a wonderful two year old Shih Tzu, which we got from the Dogs trust, I can’t tell you the joy she has brought back into our life’s, and after a hard day at work, there is nothing better than the greeting you get, and then going for a lovely walk, and meeting different people, who as you say, share your love of dogs. Then at night relaxing on the sofa, with her curled up at the side of you. You can’t beat it.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and Happy new year.

    Best wishes
    Lorraine & Honey (the dog)

  3. Lovely article Glynis, I truly believe they are a stress reliever, I adore my Fox Red Labradors and before that had a Chocolate Labrador, very sudden passing, dogs have unconditional love, all they want is cuddles/love, walks and fed! They are such a wonderful addition to family, teaches children to respect and love them also! I find I love them more than people, at least you know where you are! Gigi is just gorgeous it’s like having babies again!!

  4. We(‘my Wife, son & I’) will soon be ‘first-timers’ to dog ownership and I have a mixture of both apprehension and excitement! I am disabled and partially housebound and when my wife and son leave the house in the morning to go to work it can get very lonely and dull and when my son asked “can you look after my girlfriends puppy dog for two weeks” my initial thoughts were about the disruption to my ‘house-proud routine’! My wife and I agreed to look after him and she instantly applied ‘house-rules’ which lasted about 5 minutes!
    Puppy dog ‘Cocker-Spaniels’ are adorable and he would give-me the ‘puppy-dog-eyes every time’ that make it virtually impossible to administer any stern & strict discipline!
    His company and presence was mostly beneficial for me but my wife loves walking and his companionship was greatly appreciated.
    ‘People say’ “they’re hard work” but we raised a child despite my disabled abilities and ‘as you get older’ your enjoyment and ‘well-being’ is worth more than a carpet or pieces of furniture! The puppy was sorely missed when he returned to his owner and his presence is mostly missed now in the ‘early hours’ because I don’t sleep well and often come back out alone to sit in the living-room and I could do with his friendly company ‘especially’ then!
    Our ‘imminent’ arrival was a lot of money and based upon those two ‘fun filled’ weeks he’ll be worth it ‘I’m sure’ because he made us all happy and ‘supposedly’ you can’t put a price on happiness!

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      I completely agree with you. My puppy has brought untold joy to us in the few months we’ve had her. She’s already cost us a small fortune and potty training is challenging but she has been worth it. We all love her to bits. I do hope you have a wonderful time with your puppy and feel very sure that you will.

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