Video: 7 Ways Your Dog Can Save Your Life

The Transcript

Bernie Zilio
Cats may have 9 lives, but dogs can save yours. Here are 7 ways that your dog can save your life.

Welcome back to Alpha Paw, your destination for everything dog. I’m Bernie Zilio and I’m on a mission to answer every doggone question you’ve ever had about your fur babies and today we are talking about how our dogs can actually save *our* lives. We know our canine companions are called man’s…or woman’s…best friend, but it’s not just their companionship and loyalty that makes them such great pets.

They actually have the ability to make us healthier, happier, and keep us alive. I know, I know as if they could get any more perfect. But let’s get into a few ways that they can be good for our health.

Having A Pet Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

The first way is that dogs actually have the ability to lower our blood pressure. Studies have shown that just spending time with a dog lowers your blood pressure and research published by the NIH found that pet owners might be protected against cardiovascular risk.

Even just petting a familiar dog lowers blood pressure, heart rate, slows breathing and relaxes muscle tension. Not to mention, dogs help reduce stress. Scientists at Washington State University discovered that just 10 minutes of petting a dog can have a significant impact. Study participants had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone. And as we know, stress can cause all sorts of health problems.

Having A Pet Increases Physical Acitivity

Ok, the third way that dogs can help keep us alive and live longer is that they actually make you get out of the house and exercise more. Researchers from Michigan State University found that nearly half of dog-owners exercised 30 minutes a day, five days or more a week. If you’re typing that into your calculator…save your time.

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That adds up to about 150 hours of exercise per week, which just coincidentally happens to be the amount of exercise that the CDC recommends. Bam. And as if exercising more wasn’t beneficial enough for your heart and lungs, dogs also help humans stop smoking. Seriously. An online poll conducted by the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit found that about one in three smokers said the health of a pet would motivate them to try to quit smoking.

All this time you thought you had to get a cold turkey…or go cold turkey?…but really you just needed a dog. Another way dogs can quite literally save your life is that specially trained canines can alert their epileptic owners when they are about to have a seizure. Seizures typically occur and then end on their own without serious damage, but they can cause people to fall over or hurt themselves when they go into a seizure.

Dogs Can Sniff Out Cancer

So if a dog is able to alert its owner prior to an epileptic episode, the person can ensure that they are in a safe place and position before having a seizure. The sixth way that dogs can help keep humans alive is that they can literally be trained to sniff out cancer! A study found that a specially trained Labrador retriever could accurately detect cancer when smelling breath and stool samples.

Maybe that’s why they like to sniff butts. They’re just trying to save your life! I’m semi- kidding. We actually did a whole video about why dogs like to sniff butts, so you can watch that here. And the last way that dogs can help save your life, for the purposes of the video today- there are actually even more ways- is that dogs can help those who battle depression.

Which is a lot of us this past year. In one cross-campus study, college students who were dealing with depression were invited to spend a couple hours with a therapy dog. They could pet, play fetch, and even take selfies. The results? A 60 percent decrease in self-reported anxiety and loneliness symptoms.

All this time you thought it was your job to keep your pup alive, but they’ve secretly been keeping YOU alive! Have you had an incident where your dog saved your life? Let us know in the comments section down below. Again I’m Bernie Zilio and this is Alpha Paw, be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss a single doggone episode and we’ll see you next time!