Surprising ways owning a dog is good for your health

(HealthDay)—Apart from the sheer fun of owning a pet, having a dog enhances well-being and even personal growth in many ways.

Caring for a dog teaches kids responsibility and offers everyone in the family unconditional love. Many studies have found that the social support that dogs—and pets in general—provide boosts their owner’s emotional health.

There are also many physical benefits to dog ownership.

Walking Rover on a regular basis—once or twice every day—can help you reach your own daily exercise goals and, in turn, lower your heart disease risk. In fact, according to one study, owners who walk their dogs on a regular basis are over 50% more likely to meet minimum exercise guidelines. Surprisingly, though, many people simply don’t walk their dogs enough for them or their pets to get in a good workout.

The advantages of having a dog extend beyond the home. Bringing your pooch to work can reduce your stress. And studies by researchers at Central Michigan University suggest the presence of a four-legged “co-worker” can boost cooperation, bonding and trust among employees. That’s important because getting people to work effectively as a group is often a challenge, even when companies try to engage staffers with activities like team-bonding exercises.

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