From dog hair on your clothes and stepping on chew toys in the middle of the night to early morning wakeups from a wet nose, the challenges of dog ownership are many.
But the physical, mental and social benefits of having a pooch by your side are so numerous it makes those slobbery licks of love and extra cleaning effort worth every bit. (Especially if you’re practicing social distancing—#stayathome.)
Here are five reasons why you need a pup in your life.
1. Dogs help you stay active
Dog owners are 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of exercise than those who don’t own dogs, according to the American Heart Association.
Playing fetch with Max or taking him for walks, albeit at some unwanted early hours, helps keep you fit.
2. Dogs make you healthier
All that activity makes dog owners healthier as it leads to a decrease in blood-pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels. That makes you less at risk for heart-disease.
One study showed a drop in people’s blood pressure when they simply petted a pooch. Results from other studies have shown dog owners go to the doctor less, use less medication and have a stronger immune system so they don’t get sick as much.
3. Dogs improve your social life
“She’s so cute! What’s her name? Lucy? That’s a great name!” And just like that, you’ve met a new friend.
It’s pretty much impossible for dog owners to not talk to one another when a fellow dog walker shows up in their path. Going to a dog obedience class and sitting at a dog park are more ways you’ll meet people. It might even help you get a date.
4. Dogs can fight the blues
First, your loyal friend forces you to go outside and doing so can help manage depression and loneliness.
Second, several studies have shown spending just a few minutes with a dog can increase serotonin and dopamine levels, two neurochemicals that make you feel happier and calm. Plus, they seem to know when you need some extra love and are willing to give it.
Lower stress levels for both adults and children is another benefit. Bring a dog to your office, and you’ll do better when working on stressful tasks. Having a dog in the house, talking about its silly antics and cuddling with it may even help your relationship.
5. Keeping you safe
Dogs are loyal companions and want to protect their owners. A barking dog—big or small—can stop burglars in their tracks. A dog has a heightened sense of hearing and smell, which makes it more aware of danger, too.
When they smell something that’s not right, they go into action immediately; and they do it a lot faster than you do. Another plus: Studies show people feel safer from just having a dog around the house.
But wait, there’s more
Many, many studies have been conducted on what’s great about having a dog. Some of them suggest they soothe Alzheimer’s patients and help prevent your kids from developing allergies and asthma.
They also keep you warm in bed when it gets cold at night and help teach your children valuable life skills like responsibility, empathy and unconditional love.
Plus, dogs are always happy to see you. Who doesn’t want to be greeted like you’re the most important person in the world when you get home? When it comes to owning a pup, the list of benefits is longer than a wiener dog.
Want to find more ways tips for health and wellness? Check out our other blogs at amwayconnections.com.