Dogs can work their magic on your mood

Highlights

• Living with a dog not only cuts the chances of having pet allergies, but also boosts the immune system and lowers the risk of eczema and asthma.
• Heart patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies.Male pet owners have fewer signs of heart disease, lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-owners, researchers say .
There's no better mood lifter than those soulful eyes, wagging tail and warm fur of dogs. They are not just our best friends, but also act as natural antidepressants. A study in the US confirms that a big part of the answer regarding the emotional bond between dogs and humans is found in the chemical called oxytocin, also known as the `bonding hormone' or `cuddle chemical'. This chemical enhances social skills, decreases blood pressure, lowers stress, anger and depression, as well as boosts immune system and raises tolerance for pain which makes a man healthy and happy . "Dog owners exercise more often, sleep better, report better fitness levels and fewer sick days and visit their doctors less often than people without dogs, while these fluffy creatures also stay healthy and happy around caring owners," says CV Franklin, a canine behaviorist. But beware! Don't take canines for granted, they are not just anti-depressants but also victims of depression. "Dogs are increasingly suffering from chronic fatigue due to owners' busy lifestyle. If neglected, they become lazy , aggressive or starve them selves. It is very important to give time, love and attention to man's most beautiful companion that gives him unconditional love and empathy ," says Mahesh KR, a dog trainer.

THE BENEFITS OF HAVING DOGS AS PETS AT HOME

Resistance to allergies and boosts immunity: Living with a dog not only cuts the chances of having pet allergies, but also boosts the immune system and lowers the risk of eczema and asthma.

Provides social help to Alzheimer's patients: Having the companionship of dogs can reduce behavioral issues among dementia patients by boosting their moods and raising their nutritional intake.

Helps fight cancer: Animalassisted therapy helps cancer patients heal both physically and emotionally. Dogs can not only help deal with loneliness, depression and stress among cancer patients, canines can also motivate them to eat and follow their treatment recommendations better. Apparently , dogs are now being trained to sniff out cancer.

Puts the kibosh on pain: A lot of people live in pain, but animals can help soothe it. In a study , around 34% of patients with pain disorder like fibromyalgia reported relief after visiting a therapy dog for only about 15-20 minutes.

Enhances social skills in kids with autism: Dogs can also help kids with autism connect better with others. According to a survey , youngsters suffering from the condition talked and laughed more, whined and cried less and were more social with peers, after being acquainted with dogs.

Better heart health : Heart patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies.Male pet owners have fewer signs of heart disease, lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-owners, researchers say.

By Nithya Kore
End of the article

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