How Owning a Dog Can Improve Your Life

Photo (cc) by smlp.co.uk

If your social life could use a boost, ask your favorite four-footed friend for help.

Pet ownership benefits owners not only physically, but also socially and psychologically, according to a new study.

Researchers from three institutions conducted the study of about 2,700 men and women: Harvard University’s School of Public Health, the University of Western Australia and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, which is a division of Mars, the company that owns Pedigree brand dog food.

The study found that being a pet owner was the third-most common way that survey respondents met new people in their neighborhoods. (The first was by being neighbors, and the second was by using local streets and parks.)

Pet owners were 60 percent more likely than non-pet owners to meet new people in their neighborhoods, and dog owners were “far more” likely to have befriended or gotten social support from someone they met because they owned and — especially — walked a dog.

The Harvard Medical School explains in a blog post:

Dogs can be good ice-breakers, making it easy for humans to start conversations. But other animals can do the same thing.

“Other animals” include cats, rabbits and snakes.

Stronger social relationships in turn improve mortality rates, according to a separate study published in Plos One in 2010.

The analysis of 148 studies indicates that people with strong social networks have a 50 percent greater likelihood of survival.

Dr. Elizabeth Pegg Frates, who teaches physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard and wrote up the pet ownership study findings for Plos One, tells CBS news that the psychological benefits of dog ownership can include reduction of loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression:

When a dog owner looks into a dog’s eyes and pets the dog, the owner will release oxytocin, the love hormone.

While past studies have already established how pet ownership can improve blood pressure levels, Harvard reports that it can also increase physical activity, helping owners lose or maintain weight.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

15 Ways Retirees Can Make Their Savings Last Longer
15 Ways Retirees Can Make Their Savings Last Longer

Study these strategies to make your golden years gleam.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

Marooned at Home? Earn Some Cash Playing on Your Computer
Marooned at Home? Earn Some Cash Playing on Your Computer

Earn cash by reading emails, taking surveys, playing games, shopping and signing up for offers through this website.

The Worst Nursing Homes in America Are Revealed
The Worst Nursing Homes in America Are Revealed

The nursing homes with a history of providing subpar care previously hadn’t been identified for a government list.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

Do This in the Car If You Want to Avoid COVID-19
Do This in the Car If You Want to Avoid COVID-19

It takes just seconds to take this simple preventive measure.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.