If you’ve ever raised a dog, you understand just how much one of these four-legged family members can improve your life. But did you know there are a slew of mental and physical health benefits associated with owning a dog?
Having a dog around can help you feel less lonely, learn new skills, and even enjoy more regular exercise. Let’s explore some of these benefits and discuss why owning a dog could be one of your best decisions.
1. Companionship and decreased loneliness
One of the primary benefits of owning a dog is companionship. Not every person has a full household or lives with others. Having a loving and loyal dog to keep you company can help you feel less isolated.
Isolation from other people can make you feel lonely and depressed, which can hurt your mental and physical health. Adding a dog to your household can help lessen these feelings, helping you feel like you’re not alone as you go through your day-to-day activities.
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2. Opportunities to meet new people
Most people naturally gravitate towards dogs, wanting to pet and interact with them at every opportunity. So, when you become a dog owner, you might find that strangers feel more relaxed and friendly toward you, opening up new opportunities to meet people.
Remember, you’re less likely to feel isolated or lonely when you’re more social. Dogs also provide social opportunities for their owners in more complex ways.
For example, dog owners who take their dogs to the same dog park often might get to know other dog owners in the area. You could also become friends with the people you meet at dog training classes.
3. Chances to learn new skills
Like children, dogs don’t come with instruction manuals. That said, there are hundreds of books about how to raise and care for dogs. There are also plenty of learning opportunities available to dog owners, all of which can improve your ability to interact with and train your pup.
For example, dog owners can undertake behavior training lessons with their pups. These lessons often discuss the importance of positive reinforcement, like giving treats, and help owners reinforce good behaviors while reducing bad ones, like chewing on furniture, biting, etc.
In short, when you become a dog owner, you’re taking on a new responsibility that can help you learn new skills.
4. Becoming more organized
Even healthy dogs need to see the vet now and then, and it’s essential to keep up with your dog’s vaccinations and immunizations.
If you struggle with staying organized, having a dog to care for might help you become a little better at keeping paperwork and schedules at the forefront of your mind. After all, dogs enjoy routine, from regular morning walks to having meals at roughly the same time each day.
Without even trying, owning a dog could help you establish and stick to routines and stay organized. When you feel more organized, you can find that your productivity soars through the roof.
5. Increased exercise
There’s no getting around it—nearly all dog breeds require daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. Most dog owners help their pups exercise by going on walks or visiting local dog parks. But this increased exercise for your dog also benefits you.
Owning a dog makes you more likely to engage in aerobic exercise. Everything from walking your dog to playing with your pup can increase your heart rate.
These activities can also help you slowly build muscle mass, especially in your legs and arms. If you’ve ever had a rousing game of tug-of-war with a dog, you likely understand how much of an arm workout it is.
When you work out more often, you can get many health benefits, like lower blood pressure.
6. Lowered blood pressure levels
Regular aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to keep your blood pressure levels in check. High blood pressure can be deadly, especially over a long period of time.
Working out with your dog is a great way to keep your blood pressure down and improve your overall health. Another benefit of lower blood pressure is a decreased risk of heart disease.
7. Decreased risk of heart disease
When your blood pressure levels are normal, there’s a decreased risk of heart disease. Because owning a dog can help you exercise more and feel calmer (lowering your blood pressure), dog owners have a lower risk of developing heart disease than those without dogs.
When your blood pressure levels are in check, and you’re living your healthiest and happiest life, you might also find that your ability to handle stress improves.
8. Better ability to handle stress
Did you know your brain releases feel-good chemicals when you pet or spend time with a dog? These chemicals can dramatically lower stress levels, making coping with daily stressors easier.
Even though having a dog can sometimes make you feel stressed, like when it gets sick or does something you don’t like, these animals have a positive effect on a person’s stress levels overall. Over time, this change can help you feel generally happier, more confident, and more capable.
9. Improved overall mood
Having a dog makes you more likely to take walks, interact with new people, and feel less stressed. These benefits boost your self-esteem. Excellent self-esteem is crucial to your overall mental health and well-being.
When you bring a dog into your home, you might find that your mood improves over time. After all, your attitude will reflect those positive changes when you’re improving your physical and mental health while caring for a dog.
Dogs also need plenty of love and attention. As a result, they can keep you alert and present, potentially preventing harmful daydreaming.
10. Staying in the moment
It’s easy to get caught in the past, reliving old mistakes or triumphs while ignoring the present moment. But living in the “now” can be far more beneficial than staying stuck in the past.
With a dog at your side, daydreaming about past events is far more challenging. Dogs need your care and attention now, so they can help lift you into the current moment and keep you more present, thus increasing your awareness and appreciation for each day.
Apart from following some tips for staying present, owning a dog might be the best way to celebrate and embrace each day more fully.
Owning a dog comes with some great benefits, such as being an excellent way to boost your mood, improve your physical health, and learn new skills. These ten benefits are just the beginning of why you should consider owning a dog.