Emotional Benefits of Owning A Dog! (Healthy Hollywood)

Healthy Hollywood recently got invited to the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. I got a chance to check out all the pre-show action. I must admit I have never seen so many pampered pooches getting blow-outs, their nails done, their fur powdered and flat-ironed. Trust me, there’s a lot that goes into getting these best in show pups ready for their big strut!

While the groomers certainly spend hours catering to their dog’s every need, man’s furry friends certainly give us a lot back in return. Just walking around in a roomful of pups is an instant mood-lifter. I can’t thank the folks over at STAINMASTER enough for inviting me to their STAINMASTER PetProtect suite. I got a chance to learn about how the STAINMASTER PetProtect carpet and cushion system can repel pet hair and provide odor reduction for any accidents, and also how owning pup can be a real life-enhancer!

We’ve all heard dogs are a man’s best friend. And, that’s certainly true on many different levels. Owning a dog can offer social support, stress relief and numerous health benefits – perhaps more than people.

“Studies have shown that having a dog has very real physical ‘healing’ powers, like decreased heart rate and breathing levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced stress, etc. all of which can have significant emotional benefit. For many, the presence of a dog actually raises the brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels, those neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and tranquility,” reveals pet expert Greg Kleva, who works with Bark Busters Home Dog Training.

Greg shares with Healthy Hollywood how dogs provided a source of comfort and healing in extremely stressful situations, like the Newtown, Conn., school shooting and to the rescue workers on site after 9/11. “Family pets bring the same emotional benefits to households across America each and every day,” adds Greg.

On the lighter side, dogs can inspire adults to get outside and exercise. Plus, as Greg notes, they can be excellent accessories for singles. “Not only are they good companions when the rest of the family is ignoring you or when you need a pick-me-up…but on the single scenes dogs can be the perfect ‘wingman.’ Dogs help us to be more social in situations we otherwise might not, and they provide the perfect ice-breaker to start a conversation with a potential mate we might otherwise be hesitant to approach.”

As for growing up with a pooch, the life lessons are endless. “Caring for a dog provides great lesson in teaching kids responsibility. Kids who are shy or withdrawn may learn better self-esteem after seeing how happy their puppy is to see them walk through the door everyday… even simply reading or talking to a dog can give shy kids more self-confidence and help them learn trust.”

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, Greg suggests giving lots of thought to the best breed for you and your family. You need to consider whether you have enough space for a larger breed or how much time you really have to train and groom the dog. There are a few ‘select the right breed’ calculators on line that can help narrow down which type of dog will be a good fit.

-- Terri MacLeod

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