Dogs Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing


Ron Ayalon

Owning a dog is an excellent way to improve your health and wellbeing. Dogs are well known for providing physical companionship but the friendship between a dog and its owner can also help to provide peace of mind and improve a person’s general health. Negative thoughts and emotion cause a build up of stress and over time this can result in age related disease. Feeling good and positive is as important as choosing the right foods and getting the right exercise and this is where dog owners are one step ahead.

What is it about dogs that can affect your health?

Dog owners have many opportunities to exercise with their dogs. Daily walks around the neighborhood can help you maintain your own physical wellbeing as well as your dogs. Playing ball and other physical activities with your dog will also make you healthier and stronger. Your walks may also turn into social outings for both you and your dog, giving you an opportunity to meet other dog owners in your neighbourhood and at your local dog park. Taking regular walking paths, routinely will not only provide your dog with vital exercise, but also help to improve your own health by providing you with daily exercise and fresh air.


Spending time with dogs can also have unseen physical benefits. Spending time with dogs can change the rate of your blood pressure, and other biomarkers of stress such as cortisol levels in the blood. Spending time with a dog helps bring us into the present moment and thus to a degree, frees us from the stress of our minds. For a little while we can appreciate the sunset, or the comfort of sitting on the couch, or even a program on TV, just a little bit more because the time is spent with a dog. The mind induces stress by capturing our attention on repetitious thought cycles, most often with negative underlying themes. By focusing on what s happening in the here and now something a dog specializes at we can dramatically reduce our stress levels.

It is common to feel alienated from other people, and while under the grips of depression or stress, it is then difficult to relate your feelings, or find the energy to articulate them into words to another person. A dog requires no explanations of you, and can sit in presence and non judgement for hours in your company. In the face of our animal s joy at the sheer fact of being, our problems will often dissolve, or are put fairly into perspective. You can share your whole story with a dog, and at the end of the tale the dog will not reaffirm it back to you, and they will never hold it against you. They will think nothing of it at all, and in doing so, might lighten the load of importance the story had burdened you with.

Neuroscience has shown us how social connections and interactions can increase our well overall well being. Mentally, a social network assists against depression and anxiety, while physically we are less impacted by age related diseases, and our immune systems are proven stronger. In the vacuum of an ideal social life, a dog provides the same stimulation to our brains, and allows us to enjoy the same mental and physical benefits of human to human interaction. And with a fraction of the drama that can often entail.

In fact, neuroscience has offered a window into how we can perceive a dog s impact on our state of mind. Alpha waves are produced when our mind is in a relaxed and focused state. People who spend time with dogs can be shown, through use of an EEG, to produce on average more alpha waves than those people who do not. With the science to back it up, we now know the importance of dogs to us, and us to them.

Science aside, anyone who has lived with a dog can attest to their own direct experience. Dogs provide fun, love and laughter. They are not pets, but part of a family.

My dog, Puccini, died from

canine cancer

. Yes, people and our pets share many of the same cancers. Puccini Foundation was born to help find treatments and cures for these cancers for animal and human cancers. I channeled my pain and sadness in dealing with canine cancer into something positive this foundation and honored the strongest of human-animal bonds. Visit us at

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Dogs Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing