Have you ever wondered what are the exact benefits of becoming a dog owner? Almost every dog owner will tell you that adopting a furry friend is one of the best decisions they’ve ever made since it significantly improved their lives. In this post, you’ll understand exactly why. There are several physical and mental health benefits that come with adopting a dog. Several studies have been conducted to prove that spending time with a furry pal can make us happier, healthier, and help us go through hard times.
1. Dogs help fight off loneliness
No matter how many friends and family members you have, they’re not always going to be able to spend time with you. Dogs have nothing but time and they’re always eager to spend and much of it as possible with their owners. A survey conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that 85 percent of the respondents believe that owning a pet reduces loneliness. This means that dogs are great at being there for their owners when other people can’t and provide incredible emotional support.
2. Dogs can help reduce stress
Dogs are able to offer comfort and ease in troubled times. In fact, there are multiple studies that show that dogs help alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms. One study in particular conducted by Washington State University found that simply petting a dog for 10 minutes can have a big impact on lowering the levels of cortisol (a hormone that indicates stress) of the participants.
3. Dogs can improve our social life
When walking a dog, people tend to seem more approachable and, owning a dog is a great conversation starter. Dogs are great at giving us an opportunity to meet strangers and begin new friendships. In fact, a research study found that about 40 percent of dog owners had an easier time making friends. Besides, owning a dog can also help improve your chances of getting a date. A series of studies concluded that men were more likely to get a woman’s phone number when their furry friend was with them.
4. Dogs can provide protection
Dogs have heightened senses of hearing and smell which allows them to detect things we can’t and alert us for possible dangers. Dogs are territorial animals (some more than others), which means their natural instinct is to protect their home and family. Although a barking dog can be annoying at times, it can certainly help prevent burglaries and other violent attacks.
Whether you’re out and about with your furry friend or getting ready for a good night’s sleep, having your dog around you can help put your mind at ease as you know your dog will let you know if there’s anything strange happening around you.
5. Dogs teach us valuable skills
Every dog owner wants to have a well-trained dog but, for that to happen, there needs to be consistent training. This requires a lot of effort and patience, which are two very valuable skills for other aspects of our lives. However, these aren’t the only skills that dogs teach us. When sharing their lives with a dog, owners learn how to enjoy the great outdoors and experience how dogs appreciate all the little things in life. With time, dog owners start implementing this appreciation for the small things themselves.
Finally, dogs teach us a lot about responsibility. Being a responsible dog owner has more to it than just providing food and water. Owning a dog is a big test of our ability to care for another life besides our own.
6. Dogs force us to be more active
It’s no news that dogs need to go out for walks. This means that dog owners will also start going on daily walks which means that they’re going to increase their daily physical activity.
A study conducted in 2019 discovered that, on average, dog owners spend nearly 300 minutes per week walking their dogs which is 200 minutes more than non-dog owners. Besides regular walks, some dog owners may also start going on long treks, trails, and other paths now that they have a furry friend alongside them.
7. Dogs are good for our heart
Adopting a dog can help owners live longer. As mentioned before, dogs can reduce stress levels which results in lower blood pressure which reduces the risk of heart diseases. Besides, being in contact with fur and dandruff also helps build a stronger immune system, making dog owners more resistant to other diseases.
8. Dogs help people with cognitive dysfunctions
It’s not only humans that take care of dogs. They care for us as well. This is especially true for elderly people or people with some kind of cognitive dysfunctions.
There are several studies about the impact of dogs on seniors that have found positive results. One study shows that being around dogs improved social interactions in seniors and decreased agitated behaviors. Another study found that dog therapy had a significant positive impact on residents’ cognitive function with mental illnesses.
Making sense of it all
It’s true that dogs repay our love and dedication to them ten-fold. However, before you rush to adopt a dog, it’s important that you think it through with everybody else that may be involved in this decision. Being a responsible dog owner has a lot more to it than simply going out for walks and petting a dog. You’ll first need to assess if you’re ready for everything else that comes along with that decision. Adopting a dog can be hard work and it’s a long-term commitment.
Once you’re sure that you want to become a dog owner and enjoy all of the benefits of bringing a dog into your life, the only thing left to do is to start the adoption process!