Dog owners know very well about all the love and joy their pets bring into their lives. But the benefits of owning a dog go far beyond even what most pet owners could explain. Our furbabies give us a sense of purpose and well-being and help us stay socially connected. There are even many physical benefits of owning a dog!
Physical Benefits of Owning a Dog
- Dogs have to be taken on walks, and we have to take them, whether we want to or not. That’s why dog owners get more exercise than those without pets. Some studies even say that we walk faster and get better quality exercise with our dogs than when we walk on our own.
- Dogs can help us feel safer in our surroundings. Feeling safe can help us better handle our fears and phobias, and even help us sleep more soundly at night.
- Dog owners have a longer life expectancy, especially if they live alone. A 2017 lifestyle & health study found that, for single-person households, having a dog can prolong your life expectancy. So not only does your dog give you a better quality of life, they can actually give you more time to enjoy their companionship!
- Dogs can help improve our immunity (an important factor in today’s world!).Dogs bring in germs we might otherwise not interact with, giving our immune system a chance to fight them off and become stronger. For babies, having a dog in the first year of their life can even help them ward off respiratory illnesses.
- Having a dog can reduce risk of diabetes & lower cholesterol. Just petting a dog can lower your blood pressure. Dog ownership is correlated with a lower risk of diabetes, and overall better health.
Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
You probably already instinctually know that having a dog around makes your mood a lot better. I can’t found how many times just seeing a dog in passing on the street has made me smile. So it makes perfect sense that owning a dog would generally improve your mood and quality of life. In fact, one study found that pet owners are 12% happier than people without pets!
Dogs can influence our emotions without even trying. Interacting with dogs increases dopamine and serotonin, both of which help us relax and stay calm. Looking into your pets’ eyes can trigger the ‘cuddle’ hormone ‘oxytocin.’ That improves our sense of well-being and bonding and lowers stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Our dogs need to be fed, walked, and taken care of on a regular schedule. That structure can be provide support for the mental health of dog owners. Routines benefit our health, and our pets need regular routines. Our pets give us that structure and sense of purpose that can make our lives more meaningful and fulfilling. Plus, taking care of a dog helps build self esteem, which makes us feel better about ourselves and our place in the world.
If you’re going through a difficult time, having a dog can help. Dogs can help us be more resilient and cop with crises. One study showed that having a dog with you during a stressful even can make it less traumatic. Of course, do all your research before getting a dog or giving one as a gift, but the benefits of owning a dog often outweigh the negatives.
Dogs bring us joy, and we all need more of that. Even if you don’t own a pet yourself, just following dogs on Instagram can help improve your mood!
Social Benefits of Dog Ownership
Having a dog has many social benefits as well. Taking your dog to the dog park is a great way to meet other dog owners and make friends in your own neighborhood. You automatically become part of the dog owning community. Dogs have to go to the vet, the groomers, the park, and so you will always be interacting with other people and pet owners.
Dogs provide companionship, and people who own a dog feel less lonely. There has been a lot of research lately on how strongly loneliness can affect not only our mental health, but our physical health as well. Loneliness can be a risk factor for poor health, especially as we age. Dogs fulfill our need for physical touch and companionship, so we feel less lonely and more connected to our pets.
Having a pet in your home is a huge responsibility, and one that should not be taken lightly. But the benefits of owning a dog can go way beyond the companionship and adorableness that we all expect from our furry friends. If you’re thinking of getting a pet, weigh the responsibilities and costs against all of these benefits. You just might find that it’s worth it to bring a new best friends into your home.
If you’re feeling grateful to your pet for everything they give you, why not spoil them a little? Our oatmeal-based flavored dog treats and wellness chews are the perfect way to show your pup a little love.
It’s great that you talked about how dog owners have a longer life expectancy, especially if they live alone. My wife is often alone at home when I am at work, so I am thinking of getting her a dog as company. Golden retriever puppies are pretty cute, so I should probably buy one from a breeder later.
It’s interesting that having a dog can lower levels of stress and anxiety by helping your body release oxytocin. My best friend has been dealing with a high amount of anxiety for the past two months due to an increase in her workload. She wants to find a good way to relax and improve her performance, so I’ll suggest she looks into getting a puppy.