When was the last time you could count on someone the way you can with a dog? Who else can you count on to make you constantly laugh, to bless your day with cuteness, or to keep your feet warm at the end of the bed? There is a quote I really like from Marley & Me about dogs:
“A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water logged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?”
Being the most loyal best friend you’ve ever had isn’t the only thing you can count on in having a friendly canine pal. It turns out having a furry, four-legged friend can be very beneficial for both you and your health. Here’s how:
They’ll Become Your Personal Trainer!
You may be asking yourself how you’re gonna get your butt out of bed and go get some exercise. I have the perfect solution to your problem: A dog! Dogs not only get you moving, but keep you moving… Daily! “Several studies now show that dogs can be powerful motivators to get people moving […] research shows that dog walkers are more active overall than people who don’t have dogs,” writes Tara Parker-Pope in The New York Times.
Dog owners are more likely to reach their fitness goals than those who are not dog owners. Researchers from Michigan State University find dog owners are 34 percent more likely to get 150 minutes of walking per week than non-dog owners. Dog walking keeps both you and your dog in physical shape.
Another benefit of working out with your dog, whether it be walking or running, you have a loyal companion to keep you company and motivated the whole way through. I don’t know about you, but being able to go run with my dog would motivate me at least 10x more, just based on the fact I’d be with my dog.
Playing with or even petting a dog can greatly reduce stress levels. Just by mere looking at a dog can increase levels of oxytocin, a stress-relieving hormone (known as a happy hormone). Oxytocin is a bonding hormone that gives you a burst of happiness while bonding. This specific hormone is often released when falling in love. So, it makes sense why it is released when interacting with dogs…. how can you not fall in love with those puppy eyes? But why dogs, you might ask?
“[…] scientists have so far determined that there seems to be only one case in which interspecies interactions can lead to the mutual release of oxytocin – the interaction between humans and dogs.”
So if you are ever having a bad day and are just down in the dumps, or if you maybe just need some love, you can always count on your dog to boost your mood. Your dog will give you the unconditional love you deserve.
Lower Blood Pressure & Help Mental Health
Having a dog can help lower blood pressure or keep it in check. Dog owners are at lower risk of dying from any cardiac diseases, including heart failure, WebMD says. Your friendly pal helps protect your heart! How awesome is that?
The same source says “Therapists have been known to prescribe a pet as a way of dealing with and recovering from depression.” No one loves you more than your dog does. They will always unconditionally love you and be there for you. Nothing can distract you from your problems like the goofiness of a dog!
A Dog’s Social Life Can Help YOUR Social Life
According to Cesar’s Way, “[dogs] instinctually seek to join whatever pack is nearby.” This gives us an explanation as to why dogs can get along so well with other dogs. Dogs can easily become best friends with other dogs, just like their owners!
People with dogs, especially to other dog owners, have a tendency to want to talk to each other. The breed of your dog or activities you can do with your dog can all be an excuse to have conversation. You can think of your dog as kind of your wing man!
Dogs Can Be Trained To Be Medically Aware
There are many different types of service dogs, as explained by Service Dog Express. These dogs are dedicated to you, and can help you with a variety of needs. This is just one more way dogs can be so beneficial!
Therapy dogs: provides comfort and affection and contact with animals. (Let’s be real, who wouldn’t be comforted by a furry friend).
Emotional support dogs: “provides therapeutic support to a disabled owner through companionship, non-judgmental positive regard, affection, and a focus in life.” The same source says that doctors believe some patients could greatly benefit from the companionship of an emotional support dog.
Assistance dogs: There are various different types of assistance dogs. There are guide dogs (for those with vision loss), mobility dogs, hearing alert dogs, seizure alert dogs, diabetic alert dogs, and many, many more. All of them are dedicated pals to ensure the care and safety of their owners.
Teach You Better Life Lessons Than Mom!
As you might notice, there are plenty of reasons listed for getting a dog. However, one thing you might not have thought about is that they can teach you valuable life lessons, says Healthy Pets. Dogs can teach not only responsibility, but trust, respect, loyalty, and patience.
Caring for a pet requires “daily feeding, exercise, and affection, not to mention grooming and potty time (and clean up).” If that doesn’t teach you responsibility, I don’t know what will.
Pets can also teach you a sense of trust. As the same source as above points out, “pets make wonderful trusted companions for children and can be a first step to helping your child build trust in other relationships, too.” A dog will offer their unconditional support in return.
Owning a pet teaches one how to respect. One must be respectful of a dog in how they treat it, pet it, and respect their space.
No one else could teach you such loyalty, other than a dog. The same source says, “a pet’s loyalty towards its owner is often unmatched.” You can always count on this best friend of a pet to stick by your side through the thick and thin. It can teach a person to show an equal amount of loyalty back to their dog.
“Bonding with a new pet often takes time. Your child will learn patience while your new pet becomes comfortable in your home and also during training.” It takes awhile for both house training and love to be built in, guaranteed to teach you the importance of patience.
One great thing about having a dog as a friend, that you cannot get from most humans, is they do not judge you. These friendly little guys just love you for who you are, especially if you show them back the love they deserve. They’ll be there to lend an ear or to comfort you when needed.
The best part of owning a dog is that they live to love and please humans. Making you happy makes them happy. They’ll always be there for you, showing you their unconditional love, always.
So, I greatly suggest you go out and get yourself a dog. For dogs are the missing piece you didn’t know you were missing.
Featured Image: @cristina via flickr