It should come as no big surprise that owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility and the choice to own one shouldn’t be a decision to be taken lightly. It may sound like a cliche but a dog isn’t just for Christmas, it really is for life. When you take on the task of dog ownership your life will change. Dogs need a lot of exercise and the right balance of food and company. Unlike cats, you cannot leave a dog at home all day every day while you go to work. Cats are independent but dogs need more human interaction.
If you’re undecided whether or not you are ready to take the plunge to become a full-time dog owner and want to know the benefits, then keep reading. Although there are many responsibilities with dog ownership, owning a dog can also be a special experience and can bring countless benefits to your life.
Read on to discover top 10 benefits of owning a dog:
One of the biggest responsibilities of owning a dog is to make sure that they get their daily walks, and whilst many people would see this as a drag, we think this is one of the best benefits of owning a dog!
Just 30 minutes exercise a day can greatly benefit your mental and physical health and having a dog means that even when you’re not in the mood to face outside, you’ll now have a reason to get out there and get some fresh air.
Studies have shown that getting this regular dose of exercise helps us to stay flexible and mobile in our 70s and 80s. Older people who own dogs spend fewer visits at the doctors.
Cats can be elusive creatures who like their own space, whilst dogs are generally the opposite. Owning a dog can provide great companionship and can make a significant difference to people’s lives – especially those who are elderly. We’ll actually go as far as saying that dogs can bring meaning to someone’s life as they bring structure and routine in the form of walks and feeding times etc.
A dog won’t judge you when you feel low, they are loyal and just need simple care. Dogs are great for people of all ages but can be especially beneficial to those who are retired or elderly, as they reduce the risk of isolation and loneliness.
Bringing your children up with a dog in the house can teach them many things. Discipline being one of the most important factors of dog ownership, but also empathy too. The simple act of caring for a dog, teaches children from a young age empathy and how to care for another. This skill should never be underestimated, as it will help children with empathic skills to help them connect and understand others. When a child helps care for a pet they are challenged to think outside of ‘themselves’ and look for clues as to what the dog might need…food? Walkies?
Bringing a child up with a pet is a gift you can give them from a very young age.
Become More Social
Perhaps one of the most unexpected benefits of owning a dog is how many new friends you are likely to meet. You will always see dog walkers chatting to other dog walkers and that’s because no matter what sex, nationality or race, they all have something in common to talk about…their dogs. Owning a dog means that you have to leave the house at least once a day, even if it’s the last thing that you want to do. This is great though, because not only do you get valuable fresh air and one-to-one dog time, but you also see other people when on your travels. This can really help reduce isolation and loneliness.
This works twofold. Firstly, getting regular exercise in the form of a brisk walk or run is hugely beneficial to your health and can greatly reduce feelings of stress and help with depression. Dog walkers get much more exercise than non-dog owners and this can never be a bad thing. Secondly, having a furry friend means that you will have someone to listen to your problems at all times (think of them like a hairy therapist) and stroking and grooming a dog can be a deeply relaxing experience that everyone has no doubt felt the benefits from at some point in their lives.
Did you know that your children are less likely to develop allergies if they have been brought up in a house with a dog? As strange as that sounds, it’s absolutely true. It was initially thought that the opposite was true, that children developed more allergies when brought up in a house with dogs, but clinical research tells us otherwise.
Research has shown that children develop less allergies in later years if they have grown up around dogs and cats. They will have an increased immunity to pet-related allergies.
There are many reasons that owning a dog can give you a healthier heart. Not only does the regular exercise keep you fit and healthy but also it has been found that petting a dog can actually lower your heart rate. As if we needed an excuse to stroke our furry friends even more? It has been proven that dog owners are less likely to have a heart attack that non-dog owners. Not only that, but people who have suffered from a heart attack and who own a dog, tend to recover faster than those who don’t own a dog.
Decided to get a dog yet?
There’s even more reasons why you should consider owning a dog.
The right type of dog can make you feel safer both inside and outside your home. Burglars are less likely to enter your home if they hear a dog barking! Seriously, would you raid a house with a big dog? Runners are likely to feel safer if they have a protective dog running with them at their side. The right type of dog can alert people if you have had an accident too.
Exercise can be a drag, especially when the weather is bad and you’re just not feeling it. The amazing benefit of having a dog is that you are forced to go outside and walk them at least once a day. People tend to underestimate how beneficial walking is and often don’t associate this with weight loss.
Studies show that dog walkers lose more weight per year than non-dog walkers and this makes sense. Having a reason to get up in the morning and get out and face the world is a good enough reason for us to want a dog. When you throw natural weight loss in the mix too then it becomes a no-brainer.
Reduce Blood Pressure
You would think that we were making these up but really the benefits of owning a dog that we have included in this article have been proven. Owning a dog can reduce your blood pressure. How does it do this? In several ways. Firstly, owning a dog (or a cat) can reduce levels of stress significantly. Stroking an animal can release a special happy chemical that makes us feel calm and lowers our general stress levels. An added bonus here is that Rover will enjoy his petting session too so it’s very much mutually beneficial. Couple this will an increase in physical activity, in the form of walking or running if you’re super active, then you can see how your heart is going to be ticking over at a healthier pace.
Why You Should Get a Dog…
As you can see from this article, there are countless reasons why owning a dog will enhance your life. Research has shown, time and time again, that owning a pet can massively reduce our stress levels and this creates a knock-on effect with the rest of our lives. Owning a dog means that your heart will be healthier and you’ll likely lose weight too.
Retired and elderly people can hugely benefit from owning a dog, as the companionship helps to minimize isolation and loneliness. As well as keeping people of all ages fit and healthy for longer.
Owning a dog can help with depression. Not only will you have a reason to get up in the morning and get some fresh air, but you’ll have a loyal buddy who will always be there to listen to your problems (and maybe chew your slippers but we can forgive this!).
There are many reasons to get a dog but ultimately it’s your choice.
Are you ready to give a dog a happy home?
- Benefits of Owning A Dog – American Humane
- 10 Science-Based Benefits of Having a Dog – AKC
- 5 Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog – Electric City Counseling