Why Dogs Are Actually Great For Your Health

Photographed by Molly Cranna.
While watching videos of cats online can bolster your mental health, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that dogs may be the healthier pet option IRL. Yet more cannon fodder for the oldest debate in history. Previous studies have shown that dog lovers are more extroverted and agreeable than cat people, and this research from the CDC may offer an explanation. After surveying 643 children's parents about the kids' mental and physical health (including questions about nutrition, physical activity, anxiety, and emotional difficulties), researchers found that fewer children raised in dog-owning households were described as "anxious" by their parents, compared to their dogless peers. Although there was no difference in BMI between dog-owning and dogless children, the study also cites the National Institutes of Health's findings that there is a lower rate of obesity and poor heart health among dog owners. Just one more reason to love your pup. In addition, it's suggested that children gain an early understanding of caretaking and relationship-building from owning a dog — not to mention the obvious opportunities for play and physical activity that a pup presents to kids. The authors of the study added that having a dog could help children overcome social or separation anxiety, thanks to Fido's dependable companionship. So, for today, the win goes to dog people; cat people may retreat to lick their wounds until tomorrow. At least both sides can agree on the merits of pet therapy?

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