OllyDog Lifestyle

Having A Dog Could Help You Live Longer (According to Science!)

An elderly woman with her dog

At OllyDog, we understand the magic of having a pooch as part of the family. Whether it's you and your pup against the world or your family resembles a larger pack, life with dogs is just better.

A happy dog sticking their head out a car window

From belly rubs to cuddles to making us laugh, it's easy to see how having a dog can increase your happiness, but there is more to the picture than just the joy they bring to our lives. Turns out, having a dog is not only good, but good for you! Studies have shown that keeping a canine companion can even increase your longevity.

Here's what science has to say about why dog owners live longer than non-owners.

Hormone Helpers

Most canine encounters positively impact your mood; this is proven by what goes on inside the brain. Spending time with furry friends can heighten the production of helpful, mood-boosting hormones. Oxytocin, the "love" hormone, dopamine, the "happy" hormone, and serotonin, a mood stabilizer, are all released by the brain when you spend time with a dog. Whereas petting a dog for just ten minutes has been shown to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.

A woman petting a happy dog on her couch
Happy Hearts

We know that stress is bad, but what are the facts regarding stress and longevity? Stress is a large factor in medical issues like high blood pressure, and the bottom line is that stress is bad for your heart. Chronic stress increases your risk of medical emergencies like heart attacks. We can't say that having a dog prevents all possibility of cardiovascular issues, but it's widely accepted that it reduces your risk. Dog owners who do experience a heart attack or stroke are 31% less likely to die from the event, according to the American Heart Association. 

A cute corgi decorated with cutouts of red hearts
Did Someone Say W-A-L-K?

Life with a dog also gets you up and moving. Regular activity has been cited as a key factor of life in places associated with longevity. You don't have to run marathons to reap these benefits, either. The research showed that regular, low-impact movement is key. Turns out, your daily dog walk is setting both of you up to live long, happy lives!

A happy dog on a walk in a park with their OllyDog gear
The Great Outdoors

Since dog life gets you outside, even more health benefits come into play. We are big fans of spending time in nature and love that science backs up our passion for the outdoors! Factors like fresh air and exposure to daylight bode well for longevity. Sunlight has been shown to improve brain and eye health. The receptors in your eyes use daylight patterns to help your brain set sleep/wake patters, which in turn can improve sleeping habits. Quality sleep is another factor in the longevity gameit's all connected!

A dog wearing an OllyDog harness in front of the mountains in Boulder, Colorado

Fun Fact: OllyDog headquarters is located in Colorful Colorado, where we enjoy 300 days of annual sunshine as one of the sunniest states in the country!

The science is in: there are definite connections between owning a dog and an increased lifespan. While dog owners might intuitively understand that their furry friend promotes their well-being, it's nice to have some data to back up the claim.

We are product designers, not scientists, so we deferred to experts by linking scientific studies and articles throughout this post, where you can learn more. All we are saying is that today might be a good day to thank your dog for contributing to your longevity (perhaps with a new OllyToy 😉).

A dog playing with OllyDog's Flyer Disc OllyToy (Bloom colorway)

Here's to a long life with four-legged friends!

The OllyDog Team

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