Did you know that having a dog improves your health and lengthens your life?

Did you know that having a dog can keep you healthier and prevent some diseases?

It’s been said that the company of a dog is one of life’s simple and great pleasures, but we don’t often talk about how a dog can keep you healthier and help you avoid a variety of physical and mental illnesses. Check out the following ways that having a dog in your life improves your health:

Reduces stress: Being surrounded by pets and petting and playing with them stimulates the release of oxytocin, which is responsible for the sense of well-being and a feeling of pleasure in humans. This helps reduce cortisol; excess cortisol in the body increases stress, while reductions in cortisol bring a sense of calm. Pets can also help reduce the risk for some diseases that are caused by stress, such as gastritis, colon inflammation, and digestive problems.

– Improves Your Cardiac Health: It’s not just the love you have in your heart for your family dog; your dog also helps take care of your heart health by keeping you active. Taking your dog on a daily walk, or playing fetch in the yard, are all ways that get you off the couch and into activity. Physical exercise can be all too easy to skip in your busy life, but when you’re motivated to hang out with your dog, it can give you just the push you need to stay more active.  

Dogs leave pawprints on our hearts.


Makes You More Social and Friendlier: Want more friends? Try getting a dog! Studies show that dog owners are friendlier and are better able to regulate social stress. In an article from the American Kennel Club, human-pet expert Phil Tedeschi says, “Dogs don’t only act as important social lubricant and support, they also change the way we interact with other people. Research suggests that our connections with dogs increase our social interactions, evidenced by more openness to others, initiating conversations, focusing toward other people, being more positive, increased physical activity and play, and more laughing.”

Be the person your dog thinks you are.

~C.J. Frick

– Helps You Avoid Allergies: Children who grow up with dogs are three times less likely to develop allergies as adults.

– Improves Your Mental and Emotional Health: Having a dog as company, playing, spending time with them, and having fun with them, increases your production of serotonin and dopamine. These are important neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Dogs are also used in therapy to help individuals overcome depression and trauma. 

– Act as Support Therapy: Dogs can be emotional support therapy for disorders, fears, and traumas. With a dog in your life, you can have a companion with you, 24/7, who you can lean on in times of fear or pain, or when past traumas rise up. As a companion, your dog is able to give you support without judgment or commentary. Since isolating oneself is a common symptom when grappling with difficult emotions, having a dog provides friendship and connectedness during difficult times.  A dog is just there for you. 

– Increases Your Life Expectancy:  Dog owners live longer. It’s true! Researchers believe this is due not only to dog owners being more active in their physical health because of their dogs, but also because having a pet to care for gives people a reason to live and to take care of their own health. Our pets need us and because of this, it can motivate us to make sure we’re around to care for them. 

As people of faith and as passionate dog owners, we’ve seen the way in which our dogs have been a blessing in our lives and in the lives of others. Because of our experiences, we believe that dogs are an instrument in the hands of God, to bless our lives. They are part of his creation, which he calls good in the book of Genesis. God put animals in our lives with a purpose established by Him, always to bring well-being and blessing. When we love our pets and understand that they are part of his plan, we can understand them as a vehicle for the Father to work in our lives, for our health and happiness. 

Thank God for dogs! 

Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can’t imagine living any other way.

~Caroline Knapp

Natalia Ospina is a social media content creator who has gained influence for her pet tips and lifestyle content. She has amassed a following of more than 500,000 people and more than 25 million views sharing pet care tips and advice through vlogs and posts showcasing her own life with her three dogs and twin daughters.

With husband David Botero, they are co-founders of a ministry with a mission to attract and connect animal lovers to God’s love through their pets, equip them to grow in their faith, and thus mobilize a community of pet lovers to serve their communities.

To learn more about Altrua HealthShare and to also access our Spanish site, for which Natalia and David are ambassadors, click here.

You can learn more about Natalia and her approach to pet life on her social media channels (IG, FB, TT, YT) at @nataliaospinaacevedo.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/keeping-pets-and-people-healthy/how.html#:~:text=Studies%20have%20shown%20that%20the,anxiety%2C%20and%20symptoms%20of%20PTSD
  2. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/02/power-pets#:~:text=Interacting%20with%20animals%20has%20been,support%2C%20and%20boost%20your%20mood
  3. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/dog-actually-great-social-life-mental-health/#:~:text=According%20to%20Tedeschi%2C%20owning%20a,other%20people%2C%E2%80%9D%20he%20explains
  4. https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/29/health/pets-food-allergy-risk-wellness/index.html#:~:text=A%20new%20study%20found%20young,babies%20in%20pet%2Dfree%20homes.&text=Children%20who%20live%20with%20cats,according%20to%20a%20new%20study
  5. https://www.thedodo.com/dodowell/do-dog-owners-live-longer