Tails from the trail and tips on training your human

Our Best Friends – 8 Ways Dogs Help Us

Dogs Help Us - Happy Breath

Dogs are one of the best companions a person can have. Whether you want it to cure your loneliness or you need an entertaining distraction, a furry friend is just the pet you need. However, if you’re not someone who has a pet dog, there is still a part of you that probably melts at the sight of them. If that is the case, then you’re a dog lover.

While all these motives are compelling to keep dogs as pets, there are other reasons why humans love dogs so much. If you think about it, they offer us many benefits along with their heart-warming cuteness and love, which is an extra addition to their usefulness.

Even though some would say that having dogs as pets is difficult because of the care, energy, and money they demand,  it is perfectly fine because of the selfless services dogs provide humans.

So, it isn’t that much of a deal if they demand some extra care and love. Here are eight ways they help us:

8 Dog Benefits

1)    Loyal best friends

If you need someone who will not leave your side, no matter where you go, then having a dog best friend is your best bet. Unlike other pets, dogs are known for their loyalty and the unconditional love they reciprocate. Whether you come from a huge circle of family and friends or are alone with no one around you, a dog’s delightful company can make your life colorful. No attitude, no fuss, just love, and fun! Just ask dog owners if you’re in doubt!

2)    Aid for people with vision loss

Perhaps one of the best dog benefits includes dogs helping people with vision loss. Such dogs are known as guide or service dogs who receive special training for this purpose. This is an excellent way to ensure that people with vision loss can live life independently with their guide dog serving as their eyes. Crossing a road, walking to school, or even working are just some of the tasks made possible thanks to service dogs.

3)    Mental Health support

Many studies have shown that interaction with dogs benefits those who struggle with their mental health. One of the less apparent reasons is that having a furry friend keeps you on your toes, providing the perfect distraction you need from your stress and anxieties.

However, scientifically, studies have proven that having a pet dog can help release beta-endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin. These hormones are important for lowering pain and reducing levels of glucocorticoid (a stress hormone). Due to these benefits, people struggling with their mental health often turn to pet-based therapies, which are far more effective than medicinal treatment.

4)    Drug Sniffers

Dogs are known for their sharp sense of smell. Therefore, you may have seen dogs, such as German Shepherds and Labradors, at airports. These dogs receive training to become ‘sniffer dogs’ to sniff out items that are not allowed in-flight or on airport premises. Some items they can sniff out easily are narcotics, weapons, exotic animals, fruits, and plants.

Along with these items, they can also detect missing persons, human remains, and even fugitives. Sniffer dogs truly make detection of such items easier as no extra machinery or equipment is needed. They need some training to hone their olfactory system, making them an important part of airport security and investigations.

5)    Provide Security

For the longest time, dogs have provided security to humans and their homes from external threats. So it is not surprising that open spaces such as a farm or a large estate have several security dogs. These dogs are trained to be vigilant of any unusual sound, scent, or activity. Specific dog breeds are trained specially for this purpose, which may include German Shephards, Bullmastiff, and Dobermann. Unlike other breeds, these dogs are known for their threatening and watchful nature.

6)    Detect Illnesses

You may have come across articles or videos where a cat or a dog saved a person’s life by detecting an illness. Well, that is true and entirely possible. Dogs can detect several illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and even Parkinson’s disease. This is due to their strong sense of smell which can be cultivated if trained to detect such illnesses from the beginning. One way dogs can do this is by sniffing volatile organic compounds (VOC), which is a biomarker for an emerging disease.

7)    Increase Immunity

If you’re surprised to find out dogs help strengthen immunity, then believe us, we are too. We often associate allergies with having a pet dog. But studies reveal that dogs can help increase our immunity. Think of your pet dog as a probiotic that helps in nurturing healthy bacteria. Apart from this, having a pet dog keeps you healthy because of all that running and playing one has to do when entertaining a dog. As a result, it helps in physical fitness, which is one way to boost immunity.

8)    Boosts mood 

Ever wondered by dog owners are happy and chirpy? One reason for this is their daily interaction with a pet dog. It can instantly work as a mood booster by releasing dopamine, the hormone responsible for our happiness. As such, low levels of dopamine are responsible for feelings of depression and sadness. Conversely, a few minutes of playing, stroking, or just sleeping next to your pet can produce a spike in the hormone.

The Bottom Line

If you have a dog, then you know the list above is only part of the benefits that dogs provide humans. They are playful little pets whose benefits and usefulness are impossible to capture in a few words. However, this is not to say that the list above is not correct. These are only some of the ways humans have been benefitting from them. So, if you’re someone trying to convince a parent or significant other to keep a pet dog, show them this list.