There’s no doubt that when we bring a dog home, they truly become part of the family. In fact, they become so much more than family. We’re lucky enough to get to know the personalities, quirks and even the annoying (but totally loveable!) habits of these gorgeous furry friends. Our lives completely change because of them and it’s likely that our camera rolls are chock-full of cute snaps and videos of their antics. But, owning a dog, or any type of pet, is more than a rewarding privilege, did you know there’s increasing evidence showing their benefits to our physical and mental health?
The bond between a pupper and their owner is special. It’s not just companionship, it’s a connection. Indeed, most owners will confess to having long conversations with their pets, albeit one-sided, but those extra licks, snuggles, and tail wags more than make up for it! It’s impossible to return to a cold and empty house when there’s a furry friend waiting for you at home. One study by BMC Public Health revealed that dog ownership could actually improve mental wellbeing and reduce the feeling of loneliness.
More than just providing comfort when you’re curled up on the sofa at home, puppers are also a great way to meet other people. In a Harvard study, it was found that pupper parents were 60% more likely to meet people in their neighbourhood than those without pets!
It’s hard not to smile when you play with a puppy, with all that energy and clumsiness in one bundle of joy.
Interacting with a pupper of any age can be a great mood booster and help to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety. The simple rhythm of stroking their coats, feeling their heartbeat, or enjoying playful belly rubs can release serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Even staring into your pup’s eyes can increase oxytocin levels and improve your happiness. It really is the look of love!
Pet Therapy is also on the increase. Dogs (or other animals) are being used in care situations, including hospitals, aged-care facilities and even in courthouse waiting areas where emotions are often fraught.
Therapy dogs are also becoming a popular way to help children with ADHD or those who experience learning or behavioural challenges. Some schools even have their own designated therapy dog to help students process difficult situations or emotions.
Regular exercise is vital for our pupper’s physical health and for their mental stimulation. But getting out of the house and going for a walk or a play at the dog park is equally good for you.
Establishing an exercise routine with your pupper may decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglycerides. One study found that dog owners were almost four times more likely to hit recommended exercise goals than those without a pupper. So, if you’re not in the mood for leg-day at the gym, just grab the lead and get some fresh air instead.
Plus, there’s evidence to suggest that having a pet can improve your microbiome and your immune system. It may also reduce allergen sensitivity in babies whose mothers have interacted with furry friends during pregnancy. This is also supported by studies that show children who are exposed to pets early in life are at a lower risk of developing severe asthma.
Lyka: helping your dog help you
Now that you know all the benefits of pupper ownership, it’s important that you are nourishing them from the inside out and giving them all they need to stay fit, happy and healthy. Diet is a great place to start. Our recipes are free from refined and added sugars to avoid blood sugar spikes and to help stabilise your pup’s mood and behaviour. The carefully balanced mix of wholefood and superfood ingredients have been formulated by our in-house vet, Dr. Matthew Muir, and a team of Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionists to help make every mealtime count.