The Health Benefits of Being a Dog Owner


For almost 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides various health benefits. Walking the dog is not the only way that your pooch can keep you healthy, as pets can help lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety, boost our immunity, and even detect cancer. Read on to find out more about the health benefits of being a dog owner.

They Help Prevent Allergies in Children

“The old thinking was that if your family had a pet, the children were more likely to become allergic to the pet. And if you came from an allergy-prone family, pets should be avoided,” says Dr James E. Gern, a paediatrician at the University of Wisconsin, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. However, a significant amount of recent research suggests that children growing up in a home with ‘furred’ animals, such as a dog, have a lower chance of developing conditions such as allergies and asthma.

The study conducted found that if a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies (19% with pets vs. 33% without pets). They also were less likely to have eczema, and they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals – a sign of a stronger immune system.

With this in mind, it is worth mentioning that dogs may be able to steer you away from foods that you’re allergic to. For people whose peanut allergies are so severe that even miniscule residues in the air can trigger an allergic reaction, a peanut detection dog can come in handy, according to training facilities such as the Florida Canine Academy. These dogs are trained to detect the trace presence of peanuts in a room.

They Help People Suffering from Alzheimer’s

Dogs are not only great for decreasing people’s chances of developing allergies, asthma and eczema, but they are beneficial to those suffering with dementia. “Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home,” says Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

They Help Lower Blood Pressure

In another study it was found that owning a pet, such as a dog, can be beneficial in lowering blood pressure. The study showed that stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations, compared to those without pets. Additionally, it was found in a study that heart attack-patients who have pets tend to survive longer than those without, and it was found that male pet owners exhibit less signs of heart disease (lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels) than non-dog owners, according to one study.

They Can Detect Cancer

It has often been reported that dogs can detect cancer in their owners; scientific reports of dogs sniffing out cancerous growths go back at least two decades. A notable example of this is Panda the dog, a specially trained eight-year-old black Labrador, who correctly detected colorectal cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool samples that scientists had collected.  In this study Panda correctly identified cancer patients among a variety of body fluid samples from people with inflammation, a history of smoking, or other diseases, which shows that some dogs can single out cancer among other conditions.

They Encourage Physical Activity

According to a study by Canadian researchers at the University of Victoria in 2006, dog owners were more likely to participate in mild to moderate physical activity than those who didn’t own dogs. The dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes per week, compared with non-dog owners, who walked an average of 168 minutes per week. This study alludes to the fact that dog owners could be up to twice as active as people who don’t own dogs.

They Know When You Have Low Blood Sugar

Some trained dogs are able to detect low blood sugar levels in people suffering from conditions such as diabetes. According to a 2000 article in the British Medical Journal, more than one-third of dogs living with diabetic people have been reported to display behavioural changes when their owners’ blood sugar drops, sometimes even before the owners themselves were aware of it.


Dogs not only provide companionship and loyalty, but also contribute to our physical and mental health. If you are looking for dog walking in Croydon please do not hesitate to contact us here at Dog School.