We all know that dogs are amazing, but do you know just how amazing they really are? Scientists have been carrying out many different studies on dogs over the years, and they have discovered numerous fascinating and truly unbelievable things about them. The best scientific studies on dogs have proven many things about the species and their connection to humans.
Science is proving that dogs are very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being. I mean, we don't call them “man's best friend” for nothing, right? Studies have been done on the effects of dogs on humans, including children, and how they benefit us both mentally and physically.
Most of us probably don't spend a whole lot of time reading up on different canine studies done over the years. Today I'd like to share a few of the best scientific studies on dogs with you, because I think you'll be surprised at some of the findings.
Best Scientific Studies on Dogs
1. Pets keep us fit
Dog owners are much fitter because they own a dog, which makes sense if you think about it. You have to walk your dog daily to keep him happy and fit, and so you too become fitter.
A study that included 2,000 adults discovered that those who regularly walked their dog were less likely to be obese, compared with those who didn’t have a dog to walk. Older walkers can benefit too, as in another study it was found that walkers aged between 71 and 82 could walk longer and indeed faster than non dog walkers.
Read more about the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16459211
2. Dogs can prevent allergies and help boost your immune system
Studies have discovered that living with a dog, especially when you’re young, will prevent you from having allergies when you’re older. By having a dog, your immune system is boosted and the pet will also lower your risk of suffering from asthma and also eczema. Your immune system doesn’t need long with a dog to be boosted either – just a short amount of time is enough.
One of the best scientific studies on dogs showed that just patting a dog for 18 minutes increased saliva and raised immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels in the saliva. These raised levels mean that you have a very strong immune system.
Read more about the study: http://habri.org/immunity
3. Dogs reduce stress
Studies have found that owning a dog can greatly reduce your stress levels. When you have contact with a dog your stress response is lowered, and this lowers stress hormones like cortisol and your heart rate is lowered too.
Dogs can also help to lower anxiety and fear and will help to increase feelings of calmness. A study found that elderly people who walked their dogs every day had an enhanced heart rate, which is a sign of low stress levels.
Read more about the study: https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2006/184/2/effect-dog-walking-autonomic-nervous-activity-senior-citizens
4. Dogs make you more social
Studies have found that dogs make us more social, as when we walk our dogs we are out and about meeting and greeting different people. They act as icebreakers and people are far more likely to talk to you if you have a dog. One study discovered that people in wheelchairs who are with dogs received more smiles from others.
Read more about the study: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pets-can-help-their-humans-create-friendships-find-social-support-201505067981
5. Dogs prevent heart attacks and strokes
Some of the best scientific studies on dogs relating to heart health have discovered that dogs can dramatically reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Dog owners have a decrease in blood pressure compared to non dog owners. Dog owners also have a reduction in cholesterol levels and also triglyceride levels.
If you have high levels of these then your chances of having a heart attack or stroke is high. Studies also found that if you have already had a heart attack or stroke you will recover faster if you have a dog.
Read more about the study: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/05/09/CIR.0b013e31829201e1.full.pdf
6. Dogs keep depression away
Dogs make us laugh and they make us smile, when we are with our dogs we are happier. Studies have discovered that dogs really do keep depression away.
Our dogs love us unconditionally and they need us in order to stay healthy and strong. Studies show that when we’re around dogs we feel more positive about things.
Read more about the study: http://habri.org/depression
7. Dogs keep children healthy
When children grow up with a family dog around them, they are much stronger and have stronger immune systems which will reduce the chance of them having allergies. A study carried out in 2010 showed that if you are around a dog during the first year of life you are far less likely to develop chronic skin conditions.
Read more about the study: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100930093229.htm
8. Dogs help children develop
When a child grows up with a dog, there are many emotional benefits as well, and the best scientific studies on dogs have proven that. The child will have someone to talk to and spend time with.
Children can express themselves better when they have a dog around them. Children also learn responsibility when they have a dog. Studies have discovered that children with autism and AHDH also benefit greatly from dog ownership.
Read more about the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25308197
9. Dogs help older people
Many studies have shown that an elderly person is much happier when they have a dog to look after. The dog is a great source of comfort to them and offers companionship. A dog will help to keep an elderly person connected and will greatly boost their vitality. Dogs will help to reduce the feelings of loneliness that elderly people can have.
Read more about the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3351901/
10. Dogs help Alzheimer’s patients
Studies have revealed that dogs really can help those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They show that dogs reduce behavioral issues amongst dementia patients by greatly boosting their moods. These studies also found that a patient’s nutritional intake is increased when around a dog.
Read more about the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4248608/
11. Dogs help against PTSD
Several studies have discovered that those suffering from PTSD are benefited greatly by the love of a dog. A dog boosts oxytocin levels in the body and can be a great help against the flashbacks that come with PTSD.
People suffering from PTSD can have angry outbursts and emotional numbness, but when around a dog this is greatly reduced. There are now many programs that team up those suffering with PTSD with dogs.
Read more about the study: http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/nature-loving-pets-help-veteran-overcome-ptsd
12. Dogs can help you fight cancer
Dogs can help people suffering from cancer, and some of the best scientific studies on dogs are showing that canines ease the loneliness and depression that people with cancer can suffer from. Dogs encourage people to eat and keep up with their cancer treatment. Dogs really do try and help people recover from cancer. Canine companions benefit both adults and children that are fighting cancer.
Read more about the study: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-01/tmsh-cts011315.php
13. Dogs reduce pain
Studies show that dogs can greatly reduce our pain and just 10-15 minutes with a dog is all it takes for pain to be reduced. Dogs also help improve your mood and can help with fatigue that comes with pain.
One study showed that people who had joint replacement surgery needed 28% less medication, thanks to being around a dog.
Read more about the study: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140807180314.htm
14. Dogs make you more attractive
Believe it or not, some of the best scientific studies on dogs show that people who own a canine are more attractive than non dog owners. They also show that women are more attracted to dog owners than non dog owners. So, if you’re out to impress, a dog will work wonders.
Read more about the study: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/02/
15. Dogs help to strengthen bonds
Studies show that those who have a strong bond with their dog also have greater bonds with other people. One study involved 500 people aged between 18 and 26 and discovered that the ones that owned dogs had a closer bond with others.
Read more about the study: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/03/pet-social-connectedness-young-adult_n_4703790.html
16. Dogs can detect cancer
A few of the best scientific studies on dogs have revealed that some dogs can literally sniff out cancer and could save your life. One dog named Marnie who is an eight year old black Labrador sniffed out cancer 91% of the time just by sniffing breath.
Marnie also showed that she can detect colorectal cancer 97% of the time by sniffing stools.
Read more about the study: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/CancerPreventionAndTreatment/dog-detects-colorectal-cancer-standard-screening-test/story?id=12805641
17. Dogs can detect food that you’re allergic to
Your dog knows exactly what you’re allergic to studies can reveal, and can smell just the hint of peanut butter. Peanut detecting dogs really can help to save the lives for those with peanut allergies.
Read more about the study: http://www.livescience.com/35463-seven-surprising-health-benefits-dog-ownership-110209.html
18. Dogs make us happy
A study in 2009 showed that our oxytocin levels were dramatically raised when we are in contact with a dog.
The study found that those who looked into a dog’s eye the longest had the highest readings of oxytoxin. No wonder we’re always happy when we’re with our best firends.
Read more about the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19124024
19. Dogs bring out the caretaker in us
It has been found that just by looking at a dog’s face they can bring out the caretaker in us. Their large eyes, floppy ears and cute features make us feel that we have to take good care of them. We have the same reaction when we’re around infants.
Read more about the study: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0058248
20. Dogs boost self esteem
When you have the responsibility of caring for your dog you feel so much better about yourself. You have someone to care for who loves you unconditionally and you have to do your very best for them.
When you have a dog to care for your whole outlook on life changes and you get to meet and greet new people as you’re walking your dog, resulting in higher self esteem.
Read more about the study: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2011-13783-001/