People all over the world have looked into the benefits that dogs have on humans and there have been many scientific studies to support this as well. Here we look at some of these benefits. There is some debate of when exactly dogs where domesticated but some say that, at least in Europe, dogs were tamed 20,000–40,000 years ago. And for a bond between human and dog to exist for so long must mean something. Of course dogs in earlier years have been used to keep us safe, assist us in hunting as well as keeping us company. But this month we look at the benefits that dogs as our companions bring to us. How can owning a dog keep you healthy It is the lifestyle adjustment that is required when we own a dog. They need exercise and by default we get this exercise. A few years ago, Medical News Today reported on a study that showed that owning a dog reduces a person’s risk of premature death by up to a third. There was also a study from Glasgow Caledonian University which found that adults aged 60 and over enjoy better health thanks to the “enforced” exercise they get by walking their dogs. Dogs are proven to be good for our mental health We’ve all had our bad days but I am sure you can agree that it is really difficult to not feel loved and to not cheer up when getting home to a loving dog and wagging tail. They love us and it shows. Researchers explain this as the “love hormone” oxytocin. When we spend time with dogs or interact with dogs our oxytocin levels increase. Since this is a hormone very much responsible for social bonding the increase in levels in our bodies when interacting with your pet has a huge impact on our mental and psychological wellbeing. They are also great in helping us build stronger relationships and develop better social skills. We all have that special bond with our pets and most of us consider our pets to be part of our family. But there have been studies undertaken which show a beneficial influence on our other relationships too. A study has also found that adults who show greater attachment to pets during their adolescence show a greater confidence and empathy in adulthood. There can be no doubt about it – our pets are good for our health and bring many rewards to our lives.