All your dog might do is laze around on the mat or keep you company while watching TV, but dog ownership actually can provide a variety of health benefits. As anecdotal and scientific evidence suggest, dog owners tend to be healthier than the average person. Here are a few ways that man’s best friend can keep you healthy.

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They make you more active

Of all the house pets, dogs are more likely to beg for a walk or a game of fetch. So it’s a given that owners frequently walk or exercise with their dogs. Dog owners are also more likely to participate in mild to moderate physical activity. Dog ownership, in general, promotes walking activity and motivates both the dog and the owner to venture outside for some fresh air.

However, you’re not going to benefit if you’re too lazy or reluctant to walk the dog. It depends on your willingness to walk the dog in the first place.

They can help you rehabilitate from illnesses

Dogs act as “social catalysts,” resulting in greater interaction between people and alleviating loneliness, especially among elderly patients or those with physical disabilities. Dog owners are better at dealing with stress, thus helping themselves avoid anxiety-related illnesses.

This is the underlying concept behind the many pet visitation programs at hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Therapy dogs can encourage mobility, personal interaction and socialization among patients.

 They can help you during seizures

Similar to a seeing-eye dog, a seizure dog performs duties of help to their owners in navigating day-to-day activities and avoid harmful situations. There are quite a few organizations in America that provide such training to dogs.

These dogs are trained to recognize subtle changes in behavior or body language prior to seizure events, by which they are to alert owners of impending seizures. According to researchers, a dog can provide support and companionship for epileptic patients.

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They can detect cancer

Scientific research over the past two decades has shown that dogs are good at sniffing out skin cancer, while some can also detect bladder, lung, breast, ovarian and colon cancer. It’s yet to be identified whether they are zeroing in on some unknown, tumor-related compounds, or conventional variances in body fluids associated with cancer.

They can detect changes in blood sugar

Some dogs appear to detect low blood sugar levels. Reportedly, more than one-third of dogs living with diabetic people have been reported to display behavioral changes when their owners’ blood sugar drops. And in several instances even before the patients themselves became aware of it. It’s possible that the dogs detected minute muscle tremors or changes in the owners’ body odor. And they can be trained to learn the skill.

They can alleviate eczema and allergies

Young children, when exposed to dogs, could suffer from allergy or eczema reactions. However, latest research has shown that children are significantly less likely to develop eczema by mingling with dogs at infancy. Further, even kids sensitive to dog allergens do not suffer from any increased risk by having a dog.

Differences between dog owners and those who do not own a pet are too significant to ignore.