5 Ways Dogs Can Boost Your Immunity
Okay, so we're kinda partial to the Boxer breed and their slobbery ways but did you know that having a pet, specifically dogs or cats, benefit your immune system? Keep reading and we'll show you why dogs are the best multi-vitamin out there...
Whether it’s a slobbery Boxer or a purse sized Pug coming at you, to refuse some canine love is to do your body a disservice. Growing research suggests that having a pet, specifically dogs or cats, benefit the immune system. Pets can even help kids build immunity before they are born.
There are several reasons why your four-legged bestie may be boosting your health. Let's dig in, shall we..
01. Dog Owners Get More Exercise
Those daily walks along with hiking and playing keep your body moving which in turn oxygenates your body.
Even just interacting with your dog—something as simple as petting them—can reduce stress hormone levels for both of you.
02. Dogs Also Encourage Us To Socialize
Hello puppy classes, adventures to Home Depot, and structured walks with friends. And if you’re one of those dog owners who talks to your dog when the two of you're alone (no judgment), your brain could perceive that exchange as a kind of social interaction as well.
03. Slobbery Kisses
Another interesting way your dog is keeping you healthy? All those slobbery kisses. If you live with a dog or two, chances are you share parts of each other’s microbiome, the millions-strong colony of bacteria making themselves at home in our bodies. Experts say that sharing bacteria with your dog can help prevent the onset of allergies or illnesses like asthma, and can even strengthen your immune system.
The human digestive system is home to more than 500 different types of bacteria, both “good” and “bad.” Probiotics often are called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep the intestines healthy and assist in digesting food; they also are believed to help the immune system. Fermented foods such sauerkraut, plain yogurt, kimchi and kombucha, as well as supplements, can help enhance probiotics in the body.
Some scientists believe dogs might work as #probiotics to enhance the health of the bacteria that live in our guts. These bacteria, or ‘microbiota,’ are increasingly recognized as playing an essential role in our mental and physical health, especially as we age.
04. Dogs Add Diversity To the Indoor Microbiome
Having a four-legged buddy in the house, especially from a young age, can help boost a person's immune system in unexpected ways.
Dogs roll in the mud. They sniff poop and other questionable substances. Then they track countless germs into our homes on their paws, snouts and fur.
And if the latest research on pets and human health is correct, that cloud of dog-borne microbes may be working to keep us healthy. Epidemiological research has shown that
that dog ownership raised the levels of 56 different classes of bacterial species in the indoor environment, while naturally more fastidious cats boosted only 24 categories.
In addition, children who grow up in households with dogs have a lower risk for developing autoimmune illnesses like asthma and allergies — and it may be a result of the diversity of microbes that these animals bring inside our homes. #microbiome
05. Dogs Help Us Feel Better
It's really difficult not to cheer up, even after a hard day’s work, when you're greeted with — often vocal — enthusiasm by a friendly dog.
This is due to the effect of the “love hormone” oxytocin. When we interact with dogs, our #oxytocin levels shoot up. Since this is the hormone largely responsible for social bonding, this hormonal “love injection” boosts our psychological well-being.
And that's it! No wonder animal assistance in therapy, education, court rooms and care has greatly increased!
How has having a dog helped you? Let us know in a comment below.