Owning A Dog Really IS Good For You!
Dogs are more than just cuddly companions — research continues to show that pets bring real health benefits to their owners. Among a whole laundry list of benefits, dogs have been shown to increase life expectancy, substantially slash stress, and even decrease physical pain. These four legged, furry tail friends do indeed make your life better, and your home happier. Seven in ten (71%) dog parents say their pup has made them happier people, with nearly four in five saying it’s easier to wake up in the morning because their dog greets them. About half of pup parents say their dog has made them more patient (54%), responsible (52%) or affectionate (47%). They encourage you to be more mindful of the present, and make you feel loved.
Picking the Perfect Dog For You
If you’ve decided that owning a dog is right for you, congratulations: you’re about to open your life to a unique and rewarding relationship. While people who have dogs tend to be happier, more independent, and feel more secure than those without pets, it’s important to select the type of pet that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Here are some important questions to ask yourself when choosing the right dog for you.
- Do you live in a small apartment or a large house with a backyard? This will greatly determine the size of the dog best suited to your home.
- How much time will the animal spend alone each day?
- Do you live with small children or someone who could be knocked over by a large dog? Maybe a smaller pup would be a safer option.
- How much shedding can you tolerate?
They are Good for your Health
A dog is extremely good for your health. Not only because it gets you moving, but also because pet ownership can help to reduce stress, and lower blood pressure. Owning a dog can help you live longer. A comprehensive review of studies published between 1950 and 2019 found that dog owners had a lower risk of death. Dog owners also recover faster and more efficiently after illness. Children who grow up with dogs are less likely to develop allergies and asthma.
They Can Reduce Stress Levels
Research shows that the psychological benefits of dog ownership are real—and especially valuable during today’s climate. Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. Studies have shown that even small interactions with dogs cause the human brain to produce oxytocin, a hormone often referred to as the “cuddle chemical.” Oxytocin increases feelings of relaxation, trust, and empathy while reducing stress and anxiety.
While we try our best to live life in the present moment, we are human. Dogs, however always live in the moment. They don’t carry grudges or stress about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow. They are always present. Pet parents can learn a lot about themselves just by watching their dogs. Being mindful and living in the present has proven to reduce stress levels and increase overall happiness in adults.
They Keep You Active
It’s no surprise that a dog increases your physical activity. 93% of dog owners de-stress by walking their dog. You’re guaranteed two or more walks a day. From tossing a ball in the park, going on hikes, or just the necessary daily bathroom breaks it is no surprise dogs will have you up and moving throughout the day. According to statistics, people who own dogs walk for 79% longer than those who don’t own any. Dog owners spend nearly 300 minutes every week walking with their dogs. Walking for thirty minutes a day has positive short and long term health effects for your entire body such as increased cardiovascular fitness, muscle growth, bone strength, and endurance. Consistently performing these exercises will make you a healthier, happier person.
They Can Help You Make New Friends
Dogs can provide their owners with more than companionship. A new study shows they can also help create human-to-human friendships and social support, both of which are good for long-term health. Pets increase your level of self-esteem and boost your social skills. Dog owners also report making friends and meeting neighbors because of their dogs. Pets are well known to be effective ice-breakers. When you are walking your dog, people are more likely to stop and say “hi” and strike up a meaningful conversation. Pet owners are 60% more likely than non–pet owners to get to know people in their neighborhoods they hadn’t known before. Becoming more active in your community and increasing your social skills have physical effects on the body. People who have solid social networks are 50% more likely to live longer than those with limited social networks.
They Create Structure
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 plaintive look from your pet and you’ll have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for them.
They’re Always There For You
No matter who walks in or out of your life, there’s one face that’s always there to welcome you home—eyes big, and tail wagging. Your pet will stick by you through thick and thin, no questions asked. Dogs can be there for you even when people can’t. They offer unconditional love, emotional support, and constant cuddles that help stave off social isolation. They’ll be your cuddle bud for when you’ve had a bad day, or binge bud for a late night movie marathon. A dog is in your corner for life.
A Rewarding Responsibility
We hope it goes without saying that you should only opt for an animal if you’re fully willing and able to shoulder the responsibility and costs of care. Dogs really can make for a happier home. Despite all the benefits, it’s important to remember that a pet is not a miracle cure for mental health issues. Owning a dog is beneficial and comforting only for those who love and appreciate domestic animals and have the time and money to keep it happy and healthy.