Do dogs really contribute to your health and happiness?
21st August, 2019
If you’re a seasoned dog owner, you’ll understand just how much happiness a pooch can bring to your life. But if you’re new to pup ownership you might not understand just how many benefits there are to owning ‘man’s best friend’.
In this article, we’re going to explain some of the benefits of welcoming a dog into your home – not only will they increase your happiness levels, but they’re also likely to have a positive effect on your physical wellbeing, too.
Whether you’ve got an old hound or a spritely little pup bouncing around the place, you’ll want to protect them with dog insurance. And here at Purely Pets, we can find the right cover for your pup, at a price that’s right for you – but more about that later.
Do dogs make humans happy?
Did you know that dog owners really are happier than cat owners? This is according to new research from the General Social Survey (GSS), cited by The Independent. It revealed that 36% of dog owners would describe themselves as very happy as opposed to just 18% of respondents who own a cat!
So why are dog owners happier than their feline-loving counterparts? The survey suggests that because dog owners get out and about that much more, they are more likely to form friendships with other people while they’re walking their pup, therefore helping to combat loneliness.
But it’s not just the companionship element that we crave from dogs. Psychology Today suggests that stroking and petting your pooch will boost the levels of oxytocin in your body.
This so-called ‘love hormone’ helps to lower your blood pressure and calm down your nervous system, helping you to feel happier and more relaxed.
How do dogs affect human health?
Walking in itself is also a major benefit of dog ownership, getting you out in the fresh air, increasing your levels of physical activity and boosting your mood. A separate survey by the University of Liverpool, discussed in The Telegraph, found that dog owners walk their pets around seven times a week for a total of 220 minutes.
That means if you own a pet pooch, you’re four times more likely to meet the NHS’s weekly exercise recommendations than people who don’t!
The GSS research also suggests that dog owners lean on their pets for comfort and emotional support in times of stress – so much so that 93% refer to their dogs as members of the family, whereas only 83% of cat owners would do the same.
In fact, a study by Preventing Chronic Disease has found that if you owned a dog as a child, you are less likely to suffer with anxiety later on in life. So if your little one keeps on about buying that cute pup, perhaps you should consider it if your finances and lifestyle allow!
Dog insurance can always help to cover the cost of vet bills if your pup has an accident or becomes unwell.
Dogs can also be life-saving companions for people living with disabilities, helping them to lead a normal life. There are many different types of service dogs available in the UK, including:
- Guide dogs - for blind or partially-sighted people
- Hearing dogs - to help deaf adults and children across the UK
- Autism support dogs - to help children living with autism and their families
- Diabetic alert dogs (DADs) - also known as Hypo alert dogs, who can recognise when their owners have low blood glucose levels known as hypoglycemia
- Dogs for people living with PTSD - post-traumatic stress disorder
- Medical detection dogs - dogs who are specially trained to help with early diagnosis of cancer and to help people living with life-threatening conditions
These canines aren’t just there for cuddles and companionship, they can also carry out critical tasks that help people live more healthy and fulfilling lives – how amazing is that?!
How to tell if your dog is happy
Aside from the odd bout of naughtiness (like chewing shoes or furniture), our pet pooches bring us bundles of happiness day after day.
But how do you know if your dog is feeling happy, too? The PDSA suggests we should look out for the following signs:
- Floppy, relaxed ears
- A high, wagging tail
- Playful behaviour
- Leaning into your hand when you stroke them
Conversely, if your pooch is displaying any of the following body language, they may be worried or distressed:
- Low tail tucked between its legs
- Low body and head
- Ears pinned back against the head
- Licking their lips repeatedly or yawning
- Hiding behind you
Dog insurance from Purely Pets
If you’re looking for specialist dog insurance that you can trust, come to Purely Pets. You only have to read some of our TrustPilot reviews to see just how happy our customers are:
“Very good insurance for my two Labradors. I have made one claim which was dealt with promptly” - Mrs Gillian
“I have had three claims this year and they have dealt with each one quickly and efficiently.” - Mrs Daniels
“My experiences with them have been positive in every way and I can wholeheartedly recommend them.” - Roger Harding
As well as Accident Only, 12 Month and Lifetime cover available, Purely Pets also offers a free, 24-hour vet helpline so that you can get advice and reassurance if you have a question about your pooch. Operating 365 days a year, it gives you instant access to RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) registered nurses who have at least three years of practical experience.
Plus, having all of your dog insurance documents online means that you’re able to manage your policy flexibly at a time that suits you.
Older dogs are no problem, either, as there is no upper age limit at Purely Pets. And if you have more than one dog in your household, we can help you find multi-pet insurance, too.
Get a quick quote for dog insurance at Purely Pets today and see how much you could save.
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