Dogs and health

Last week, on April 18th, it was Pet Owner’s Day (I didn’t know we had a day! China should totally observe this holiday and give me a day off!) and the nice people from the website Puppy Spot inspired me to write a post about the relationship between dogs and health. They created this infographic that I am sharing:

Wow, it really seems having a dog can save you from a few trips to the doctor! I didn’t know about many of these benefits, but I wanted to talk about the benefits I have experienced since I started sharing my life with Nico, and particularly since I started working from home and spending all day with her.

The most obvious of the benefits I got was in the Body department. Since I started working from home, I lost around 6 kilos. One of the reasons is that I now cook myself every day, so I eat better -less salt, less oil, more veggies, and less quantity in general. When I eat outside I feel compelled to finish everything as I hate wasting food, but when I’m home I can just put the leftovers in the fridge and eat them the next day. But another reason for my weight loss has to be Nico: I walk her three times a day (two short walks and a long one in the evening). My office breaks used to be eating snacks in our office’s kitchen, now they are walking and running behind a dog. I walk more than I used to so I got fitter. And right on time for my wedding banquet! Thanks, Nico!

The infographic also mentions that dogs can boost your immune system. It might be a coincidence, but I got less colds in the last couple of years. This year I was mildly sick only once, and it was because one night we had the fantastic idea of having dinner al fresco when it was already quite cold.

Regarding the mind benefits, fortunately I have never suffered from anxiety and depression. But Nico surely has helped with isolation and loneliness. Working from home can be a lonely endeavour, even when I am constantly chatting with my colleagues on QQ. Having Nico means the house is less empty and I can talk to someone face to snout. It also feels pretty good when she decides to curl up right under my desk. Yes, I can’t place my feet properly anymore, but it’s her way of saying “I can’t live without you”! Walking her so many times a day is also the perfect catalyst to meet my neighbours and have some interesting conversations.

I also think having Nico is teaching me many skills that will be useful when (if) I have a baby, like predictive powers and superhuman hearing: I can predict her behaviour and avoid messes, and I can hear her quietly licking her paws (totally forbidden, she injures herself) two rooms away through closed doors.

With respect to the heart  benefits, those might be harder to see without actual tests. During last year’s check-up, my doctor said I should be careful with cholesterol. Let’s see if this year the results are better! If they are, I will need to get Nico some special treats!

Golden Retriever (like Nico!) breed card.

I can totally recommend a dog like Nico for families, as she is a very happy and easy going dog, and loves absolutely everybody, including people, other dogs and cats. Some of her disadvantages (hey, I’m an honest person) are that her skin is super sensitive and always has some problem or another, and that she is a total piggie and tries to eat any trash she finds in the street (including tissue and plastic bags that smell like food…).

If you want to get a dog, I suggest you visit your local shelter to check the available adoption candidates, or if you want to buy, do it through a reputable company. But remember that having a dog also entails a great responsibility!

Do you have a dog? Did you notice any health benefits after becoming a dog owner?