Did You Take Your Daily Vitamin D — for Dog?

A surprising life enhancement that could add years to your life span, owning a dog is a positive predictor in health, particularly among singles and aging adults. The Journal of Scientific Reports published a study of 3.4 million people that found that dog ownership is linked to a longer life. Here are the four reasons.

Daily Movement

A 30-minute daily walk isn’t only beneficial for its physical aspect; it has been shown to be as effective at combating depression as taking an antidepressant.

Sense of Purpose

A dog is a reason to get up in the morning.Taking care of another’s needs gets us outside of ourselves. It is particularly important for groups at risk,such as the aged and those with long-term mental illness or chronic diseases.

Stress Reduction/Relief

Bo is a pet dog of the Obama family, who lived in the White House when Barack Obama was president. Courtesy While House.

Petting and hugging your dog lowers blood pressure and increases levels of oxytocin, promoting a sense of well-being.

Belonging and Community

Pets provide connection and someone to talk to. They can be more effective than a therapist’s couch. They act as social catalysts, connecting their owners to the community, helping them link to networks and starting conversations(they can even play matchmaker).

Keeping Allergies and Viruses on a Tight Leash

Children raised in homes with a family dog have a decreased chance of suffering from certain allergies and asthma, according to a study in JAMA Pediatrics. Somehow, exposure to pets at a young age matures the immune system, fending off common colds and viruses. It all comes down to a more diverse biome. Thanks to dogs bringing dirt into the home from outdoors, dog ownership raises the levels of 56 different classes of bacterial species in the indoor environment.

Breed(ing) Matters

Yes, the breed of dog does matter. Sport dogs that require a long walk everyday provide the most life-extending benefits. Come rain, sleet or hail, you have to pick up the leash and head out. A bad-tempered or un-socialized dog will create stress in the owner by making outings anxious and isolating.

Want to Live Longer? Adopt a Pet

If you are considering pet adoption, you will be making a positive health choice, in addition to helping an animal in need.Resources to check out:the Humane Society, the Shelter Pet Project, Adoptapet.com, Halo Pet Foundation.

Researchers found a benefit in owning dogs of all breeds, however, the owners of hunting breeds such as retrievers, terriers, and scent hounds saw the most protection from death and cardiovascular disease.

Borrow a Dog

If, like me, you are not in a life-place to own a dog but want to reap the benefits of man’s best friend, check out the app Rover.com and become a pet sitter. This holiday season, I hosted two dogs and found it surprisingly comforting to have company during a quiet and what can be a lonely holiday season. Additionally, pet owners can feel stressed at the prospect of traveling and leaving their four-legged family members in a kennel, sousing a professional, pre-qualified pet sitter during travel is a win-win.

Man’s Best Friend and Life Extender

Regardless, an affectionate, happy dog that makes no judgments and is a supportive “best friend” at the end of the day is the most protective and predictive factor for health and well-being. Perhaps in our search for increasing our quality of life and well-being, the answer has been by our side all along.

Top photo is courtesy of Well Pet.

Rebekah Kelley is the creator and founder of Virtue Skinfood,a pure organic luxury skincare line. Experience the collection at Aveda Georgetown or visitvirtueskinfood.com

One comment on “Did You Take Your Daily Vitamin D — for Dog?”

  • Arlean says:

    Great article! I love it! Here is another idea. Puppies that are going to be trained as guide dogs for the blind are placed with private people. They wear a little jacket that says they are a guide dog in training and they go with the foster owner everywhere–restaurants, grocery stores, public transportation, church–wherever. It’s part of his training. Then he moves on and maybe you’ll start over with another puppy.

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