We all feel better with our pets around. Nothing compares to a cuddle with your four-legged friend after a long day. The benefits of having a dog, however, may be more than just mental and emotional. Numerous studies have found that pets may have an impact on our physical well-being. Take a look at some of the recent research and give your pup an extra hug for all the good they bring you!

 
Dogs lower your blood pressure. Although your stress levels may rise if your pup gets into trouble, a recent University of Maryland study showed that dogs helped to lower their owners’ blood pressure during daily activities. Under normal living conditions, dog owners with regularly high blood pressure saw significantly lower levels with their pet around.
 
Dogs keep you in shape. Walking the dog may seem like it’s just for your pet’s benefit, but the physical activity that you get in return is good for you, too. Studies from the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that children with family dogs were more likely to spend time being active than those without pets. The studies also showed that adults with dogs walked almost twice as much as those without dogs.
 
Dogs protect your heart. A report from the American Heart Association released earlier this year stated that dogs may protect their humans from heart disease. While a key factor here is the amount of physical activity in dog owners, decreased stress due to the presence of their dog helps owners keep a low heart rate and lessens stress hormones in their bloodstream.
 
Dogs are like apples.“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” so the saying goes, but could dogs also keep you out of your doctor’s office? With so many specific health benefits to owning a pet, dogs just might decrease the number of visits to your doctor. A national study out of Australia found that dog and cat owners made fewer annual doctor visits and had a lesser need for medical services altogether. 
 
So take your dog for a walk, relax on the couch or give your pet an extra pat on the head. It’ll be good for both of you!