If you are reading this article then you are either a dog owner, or you may be researching buying or rescuing a dog. Boy, do I have good news for you. Not only are dogs totally awesome in almost every way, they provide, usually in unlimited amounts, loyalty, companionship, exercise, and of course that whole being man’s best friend thing.
Dogs have many benefits, some that are in front of our eyes and others, under our feet. Doggos can teach, they can learn, they can make us laugh and most definitely make us cry. Dogs teach kids all about responsibility, dogs help the immune system, dogs help us keep in shape, dogs can do it all!
Below are just a few of the many benefits that come from owning a dog.
- Dogs Can Help An Only Child
This is your humble narrator confirming that being an only child and growing up on a 500-acre farm can be very, very boring and lonely. Studies have shown that when an only child receives a dog, they tend to feel less lonely and view their pet as a sibling. My dog, Boswell, was my best friend growing up. He was this weird looking orange beagle that my uncle gave me. Me and that dog went everywhere together and really helped my loneliness and boredom. So, if you are a parent of an only child, adding a dog to the family may be a great move. The number of young people today who are diagnosed with depression/anxiety is most concerning. But studies show that owning a dog can decrease the chance your child develops this illness.
- Dogs Keep Owners & Their Kids Active
Worried that your kids are not getting enough exercise, or they may be spending too much time in front of their phones or tv? Get a dog! Dogs need to be walked regularly, and your child will reap all the health benefits that your dog is getting by taking walks. Kids also love to run around and act crazy. Guess what else loves to have fun? Doggos! Dogs can add a dose of exercise without even your kid knowing it. It’s almost the equivalent of getting the spoon full of ice cream switched with broccoli and your kid not knowing it. Thus, falling in love with broccoli.
According to the American Heart Association, owning a dog may help everyone in your family by decreasing the risk of developing heart disease. When you walk your dog as a family, you win as a family.
- Dogs Teach Responsibility
Nobody ever said owning a dog would not be without its troubles. Bathing, grooming, feeding, walking, more bathing, vet appointments, vaccinations and ever more bathing. The list does not stop, but neither do the benefits. Many dogs require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. Having a consistent routine keeps an animal balanced and calm—and it can work for you, too. No matter your mood—depressed, anxious, or stressed—one look from your pet and you’ll have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for them. The best alarm clock is a dog or cat that is 10 minutes late getting fed. The best motivation for exercise, at least for me, is those puppy eyes looking thru to my soul, begging for a walk. Ugh, ok. Let go!
- Health Benefits Galore
You know by now that having a dog comes with some responsibility. With most breeds regular walking is recommended, not only for the physical health of your pet but emotional health as well. What you may not realize is that not only does owning a dog help with your physical fitness from walking, they help in hidden ways too. A study from the American Heart Association found when pet owners get support from their fur babies, it’s enough to lower blood pressure brought on by mental stress. Playing with your pet, like fetch, is enough to increase levels of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin. AAT or animal-assisted therapy has been linked to the reduction of anxiety, pain and depression, and another study conducted on college students reported an immune system bump had been detected in those students who were asked to pet dogs (as opposed to those who were asked to pet nothing at all). Some highly trained dogs are even able to detect diseases such as cancer, can sniff out a seizure before it happens and can tell when their owners blood sugar is too low. That is just part of the reason why dogs earn the title as man’s best friend.
- Dogs Make Us Happy
Nobody ever said life would be easy or straightforward. We all go thru “crap” throughout our lives. If it weren’t for that wagging tail that greats me everyday after work, life would not be nearly as beautiful. Their love is unconditional, their lick is one of love and understanding, its like they love you more than itself. I love dogs and they make me happy. They can provide a warm body to curl up with after a long day at work. A study found that dog owners who relied on their dogs for social fulfillment reported that "they were less depressed, less lonely, had higher self-esteem, were happier, and tended to experience less perceived stress." In another study, participants who had a dog and were assessed after 10 months. Most of the participants reported a higher sense of self-esteem, improved exercise habits, and less fear of crime.
- Dogs Make A Great Security System
My wife and I have a Great Pyrenes who looks like a small wolf. Nothing to be taken lightly when he starts to bark and hop around like a rabid beast. Unbeknownst to the mail lady who just knocked on the door, Pooter is harmless. His bark is much worse than his bite. But that fact does not detract from the feeling a stranger gets when they approach the house. It's generally accepted that having a dog deters the average criminal and reduces your chance of being victimized. Having a dog can be a strong deterrent to most criminals. Activate crime killer poocher!
My wife and I have three dogs and I seriously could not imagine our lives without them. We cant have kids so our pets fill in, I think this makes us even closer to our pets than the average pet owner. I’m not gloating, just making a case for pet ownership. Treated right, a dog can be more than a pet. It will truly become part of the family. Whether you want a hiking buddy, someone to snuggle with at night, or just someone who will help make you feel better in your own skin, dogs have got you covered.
If what I have just said is enough spark your curiosity, please adopt and don’t shop. There are thousands of great dogs and cats in shelters all around the country that need your help. Please check out The Shelter Pet Project for more info on rescuing a pet.