I’ve always been a dog lover my whole life. The first time I got to have my own dog was when I was 11, but even before then I had always loved dogs. I would always go over to friends’ houses to play with their dogs; whenever I ran into a random dog being walked on the streets I would always stop and ask to pet it; when I was little, it was my favorite hobby to look up dog pictures on the internet and dream of having my own adorable little puppy one day. This is my dog that is at home with my parents. I’ve had him since I was 11, which makes him 12 years old now. He has been my best friend ever since my family adopted him as a baby.
I could think of tons of reasons why dogs are so awesome. The adorable faces that you could stare at all day, the furriness that’s perfect to cuddle when going to bed, the face-licking that can be gross but makes you feel loved, etc. Research suggests that there is scientific proof that dogs improve your health as well.
Just gazing into your dog’s eyes can make you happier (Nagasawa). According to Miho Nagasawa from Azabu University in Japan, gazing into your dogs eyes will boost your Oxytocin levels. Oxytocin, also called the “cuddle hormone”, is a hormone that produces emotional responses that contribute to relaxation, trust and psychological stability. (oxytocin). In Nagasawa’s study, there was a high correlation between the length of the duration of receiving the gaze of one’s dog and the increase in oxytocin levels in urine.
Dogs can also help people recover from psychological trauma, which is why dogs have been paired with veterans of war suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to help them get their life back to the way it was before going to war (Smithsonian). This also has to do with the hormone oxytocin. Meg Daley from Warrior Canine Connection says, “Oxytocin improves trust, the ability to interpret facial expressions, the overcoming of paranoia and other pro-social effects- the opposite of PTSD symptoms.”
There is also evidence that dog ownership is associated with reduced eczema in children with dog allergies (eczema). Eczema is a chronic skin condition that often begins in childhood. I had it myself as a child until I was about 9. According to a study published in 2010, children who tested positive for dog allergies were less likely to develop eczema before they reach age 4 if they owned a dog before age 1. This is not the case for cats, however. Interestingly, researchers found that cat ownership in children with cat allergies under the age of 4 increase the chances of eczema by 13 times if they lived with a cat within their first year.
There is no denying that dogs are man’s best friend. Not only are they loyal and friendly companions, they also improve their owners’ health. They are perfect to hang out with outside, lounge around with at home, talk to when you’re bored and don’t feel like dealing with people, and also keeping happy and healthy.