Thinking of owning a dog? Since you’re reading this, the question may likely be rhetorical because you either are thinking about it, or already own one.

Here are top benefits of owning a dog as a companion in life that should be seriously considered by everybody:

Physical benefits of owning a dog

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Exercise

Obviously, exercise is top of mind! like it or not, we exercise with our dogs  whenever we take them out for a walk, a jog or a run! Expect a workout from walks, jogs and/or runs that has been proven in study to help lose weight! 

Wanna up the ante? Then put on skates or hook your dog to your bike, and ride in full speed using dogpower! Other exercise options are playing fetch (You think the ball/stick will always be returned?!) hiking, or swimming. For something more organized and intense, go all-out starting an agility workout.

Of course, an active, outdoor lifestyle for your pet should be complemented with the right health & diet regimen. 

Protection

Dogs provide protection in various ways, from boisterous barking to physical aggression. Although training is highly recommended to control this behavior, never forget that dogs instinctively protect their pack.   

Health

Owning a dog will likely result in having healthier hearts. It has been widely studied and confirmed that having a dog around reduces an owner’s stress levels, and petting a dog can lower one’s blood pressure and heart rate.  Some studies have also suggested that dog owners are more likely to survive a heart attack compared to non-dog owners.

Doctors used to think that owning a dog (or a cat) was a cause of allergies in children, but the thinking has changed. According to a 2004 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, dogs (and cats) actually lower a child’s chance of becoming allergic to pets—up to 33 percent!

Mental benefits of owning a dog

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Organization

Owning a dog compels owners to establishing routine behavior. Most dogs thrive in an environment where there is a predictable routine for meal time, rest time, pottying, and playing.  So dog owners who are faithful with set routines, especially in families with children, will likely develop and improve skills in organization, planning, time management, among others.

Purpose

Dogs become our objects of attention and care because they bring out a sense of purpose in us to look out for their best interests like having enough food, a safe and secure home, getting regular exercise, etc. Conversely, it prevents the mind from being idle and from entertaining negativity, worry and anxiety that can lead to stress and depression.

A 2016 study on the role of pets in groups of people that have long-term mental health problems found that pets provide a sense of security and routine as well as emotional and social support.

Emotional benefits of owning a dog

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Love

Dogs seemingly treat each day in their lives as a fresh opportunity to demonstrate unconditional love! They’re always waggingly excited and happy to see you, to be petted by you, to just be around you. Regardless how your yesterday went or how your today is turning out, their soulful eyes will always gaze towards you loads of love, asking nothing in return…except for a few treats!

Laughter

Laughter has been scientifically proven to help improve our well-being. And owning a dog certainly serves healthy doses of laughs and funny moments each day! Their antics can be cute, silly, or surprising.

Ever had enough of your dog’s hind legs pedaling like mad when he gets a good scratch/rub on his ticklish areas? Or chasing that tail in endless circles?Many people will take that to the next level by filming their pets and providing videos and photos for others to enjoy.

Support

Owning a dog around provides emotional support especially to those who suffer from depression, bipolar, anxiety or other debilitating physical/mental health disorders.  The Huffington Post reports that elderly women and HIV-positive men report less depression than others with the same demographics because of dog interaction.

This is why there are therapy dogs and other popular service animals that work in hospitals, elderly homes and other institutional facilities that provide that support and care which medicine cannot.

Social benefits of owning a dog

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Icebreaker

By default, most dog owners meeting by chance for the first time talk about their dogs before they eventually come around and engage in conversation. “What’s your dog’s name?”, “How old?”, “What breed?”, “Who’s the vet?”, “When did you have him?”…”Oh by the way, I’m [name]”, so on and so forth. Effectively, canine companions are facilitators of people interaction, friendship formation and social support establishment.

Compassion

Dogs don’t talk, so owners need to learn picking up on non-verbal cues to understand the need or want. “What’s my dog trying to say?”, and we try to respond accordingly. As a result, we deliberately put in time to pause, process and respond to our dogs.

Owning a dog develops empathy or the ability to “put oneself in someone else’s shoes”, and makes owners more compassionate.  And this becomes a habit not only with pets but with people as well, being able to pick up non-verbal cues to better understand others.

Companionship

Single, introvert people often opt to own dogs (or other pets) to practically lessen the sense of being privately alone. And yes, we do talk to our dogs! We talk to them about almost anything there is to talk about. In turn, our frequent interactions with our pet pals somewhat helps us practice how to interact outside, as needed.

This is why there are pet owners who opt to adopt couch potato dog breeds. They are loving, loyal dogs that are just happy and content being around the house for majority of each day. They embody how they are recognized as man’s best friend.

What other benefits have you realized in owning a dog? Would love to read your comments!

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