A dog is a major responsibility that can also enrich your life in many ways, so it’s important to approach the decision of whether or not to adopt a dog very carefully. If you’re considering adopting a dog on impulse after a trip to a pet store, for image reasons, or after the kids have been nagging you for some time, you might not be ready to adopt a dog. But if you and your family feel ready to bring a furry friend in your lives, there are a great many benefits to be had in owning a dog. Here is a look at nine good reasons to own a dog.
If you’re going to own a dog, you should of course plan on giving it regular exercise (this is good for improving both the dog’s health and its behavior). Dog exercise needs vary by breed, but in general, a dog needs somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise per day. So as long as you know you’ll be giving your dog the exercise it needs, you can count on your dog to help keep you active. Your dog can accompany you on walks and jogs, hikes in the mountains, trips to the park, and more.
Reap the benefits of animal therapy.
Fact: it is impossible to play with a dog and be angry. Did you know that dogs are often used in behavioral treatment and healthcare centers to help soothe patients? As this article explains, animal therapy is a unique type of therapy that offers many psychological benefits. Spending time with a dog can release feel-good and calming endorphins, diminish physical pain, lower anxiety, reduce stress, and lessen depression.
Reap health benefits.
Beyond the therapeutic, psychological benefits that dogs can offer, they can help their owners reap a variety of health benefits as well. This is likely because dogs help keep their owners more active and offer a variety of stress-reducing benefits. Dogs have been found to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and reduce a child’s chances of developing animal allergies. Some studies have even found that dogs can detect life-threatening health issues like prostate cancer, seizures, and potential exposure to toxic substances (like peanuts for those with peanut allergies)—all with their strong sense of smell.
Overcome social isolation.
Dogs, of course, make great reliable and loving companions. Many dog owners love being able to come home at the end of the day to be greeted by their loving pup. A dog can also be the perfect companion to talk to when you are going through something difficult. And since a dog can help you be more active, you’re more likely to spend time outdoors and in public, socializing with other dog lovers.
Learn unconditional love.
It is said that a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. Dogs are truly the embodiment of unconditional love. A dog will never judge you based on your appearance or personal beliefs. A dog doesn’t discriminate, hold grudges, or care about money. A dog will love you for you and won’t hold back in showing it.
Help children gain essential life skills.
A family dog can help children learn important life skills such as responsibility, patience, and compassion. While parents are likely to be the primary caregivers for a pet, children can be taught responsibility through regular assigned tasks such as feeding the dog, exercising the dog outside, cleaning up messes, etc. You’ll also be teaching children responsibility simply with the example that you set in caring for your family dog.
Fine-tune your own life skills.
Children aren’t the only ones who gain life skills from owning a dog. Owning a dog can help you fine-tune your own life skills. You’ll learn to have patience, for example, as you train your dog not to chew up your shoes, and you’ll learn the importance of having a routine as you regularly feed and exercise your dog. Owning a dog can also help you overcome squeamishness, let go of laziness, and even cope with mortality.
Keep your home safe.
If you own a dog that barks at intruders, then you can count on it to help protect your home. A burglar might be able to deactivate your home’s security system, but they can’t do anything to silence your dog after breaking in.
Collect happy memories.
There’s no telling what fun experiences and happy memories lie ahead for you when you decide to get a dog. When you find a dog that is well suited to your family and your home environment, you can undoubtedly expect to have countless priceless experiences with your dog in the years to come.