Dogs do a lot more than occupy space in the house. Their wagging tails and smiling faces are contagious and soon enough, we’re also walking around with a big smile on our face. There are many more benefits to having a pet dog.
6 Benefits Of Having A Pet Dog
There are many health benefits to having a pet dog, but good things don’t end there. Research shows that having pets have psychological, physical and emotional benefits as well. Let’s look at some of them below.
1. More Exercise
You may not be motivated to leave the house and exercise but when you have a dog, your choice is out of the question. You have to take them out so they can relieve themselves. When they are puppies, you’ll have to take them out 4-5 times a day.
This may motivate you enough to enjoy walks and go out for your health. Walking is good for your health, increases blood circulation and helps you lose weight. All of this is good for your health.
2. Reduced Doctor Visits
Having a healthier body after owning a dog is not just a hypothesis. Research shows that dog owners above 65 years of age have indeed visited the doctor less frequently when compared to those who don’t own dogs.
This may be because dog owners above 65 years are far more likely to step out of the house to walk their dogs even during the harshest of temperatures. This helps you form a routine and gets you in the habit of taking a walk every day.
3. A Sense Of Responsibility
Pet owners have a sense of responsibility for their pets. This makes them responsible members of society. Children who grow up around pets often become responsible, law-abiding members of the society because they learn from a young age about respecting beings that cannot advocate for themselves.
Feeding, walking and playing with your dogs on time also helps us build a routine. Without a dog, you may wake up mid-noon, but with a pet, you have to wake up early to walk your dog. You take responsibility for your actions and take care of your dog. This habit starts to reflect on other aspects of your life.
4. Improving Your Social Life
You start to meet other people with dogs and you end up making friends with like-minded people. This helps you with your social life and if you suffer from depression, having a group of like-minded friends, certainly helps in the situation.
5. Heart Attack Patients Survive For Longer If They Own A Dog
Research shows that heart attack patients are:
- 31% less likely to die from a heart attack
- Survivors who live alone have a 33% reduced risk of dying if they own a dog
No one knows for sure how owning a pet can help heart patients but there are two possible reasons why heart attack survivors can bounce back to health if they own a dog.
Firstly, as we discussed earlier, owning a pet forces the person to go on walks. Light exercises like walks are good for middle-aged heart patients.
Secondly loving and petting a dog leads to the secretion of oxytocin and reduces the secretion of cortisol (the stress hormone). Oxytocin relaxes the body and eases the pressure off the heart. When your heart is relaxed you are far more likely to have a healthier and happier life.
6. Healthy Eating Habits
Did you know that owning a pet can induce healthy eating habits? We aren’t sure why this happens but it may be because when we start to make healthy eating choices for our pets, we feel responsible to make healthy food choices for ourselves as well.
Secondly, when we start to walk or jog with our dogs, we start to notice favourable bodily changes. That’s when we’re motivated to take it to the next level and make healthy food choices for ourselves as well.
But Wait! Before You Get A Dog…
After reading all these benefits we’re sure you want to bring home a love bundle of joy. Before you do, you must remember the following:
A Dog Is Not A Magic Formula
Sure owning a dog will give you a lot of happiness but you must see the big picture before getting a dog. Many people buy/adopt pets because they see cute photos and videos without actually realising that owning a dog does take effort from your end.
If you bring home a dog only for the benefits, and without any research, you are far more likely to abandon that dog.
You Won’t Become Responsible Overnight
If you’re accustomed to getting up late, when you get a dog, you won’t suddenly start to wake up early. The first few months are hard because both you and your dog are adjusting to each other’s schedule but with patience, you’ll learn and so will your dog.
This brings us to our next topic:
Caring For A Dog
Owning a dog requires a lot of patience. Dogs needs to be walked on time, fed on time, their teeth need to be brushed, they need to be groomed. You must also play and interact with them. Dogs may also have issues like separation anxiety, sickness and health conditions as they grow older.
It takes a lot of patience to understand dogs and to take care of them. Before you get a dog you need to ask yourself if you are ready to take care of them. We become responsible only when we are ready to take responsibility.
Only A Balanced Dog Will Make You Happy
When you come home and your dog comes to you with their wagging tails, there will be oxytocin in the air! Both of you will be happy when you greet each other. However, nothing is soothing about coming home to a big mess and a sad or angry dog in the corner.
Untrained dogs, have separation anxiety or haven’t received enough exercise will make a mess in the house. Dogs that aren’t cared for, will not be able to care for you in return.
So, if you want to get all the benefits mentioned above, you need to give in return. This starts by taking care of your dog and making sure they are eating well, sleeping well, going out a few times a day, are toilet trained, only then will you have a healthy happy dog. The healthier and happier your dog gets, the healthier and happier you will be. So, it’s a win-win situation.