Benefits of Dog Ownership!!! 9 Reasons Why to Own One

Benefits of Dog Ownership!!! 9 Reasons Why to Own One

Hey there, fellow dog lovers! If you're reading this, chances are you already have a furry friend by your side or you're thinking about getting one.

Dog ownership is a rewarding and fulfilling experience that can bring many benefits to your life. Dogs are loyal, loving and fun companions that can help you reduce stress, improve your health and socialize more.

As, dog lovers, do you ever wonder what kind of dog owner you are? Well, I have a fun and easy way to find out. Just answer these three questions and see which category you fit into.

  1. How often do you walk your dog?
  2. Every day, no matter what.
  3. Whenever I have time or feel like it.
  4. Only when they really need to go.

 

  1. What do you feed your dog?
  2. Only the best organic, grain-free, human-grade food.
  3. Whatever I find at the supermarket or online.
  4. Leftovers from my own meals.

 

  1. How do you pamper your dog?
  2. I take them to the groomer, the vet, and the dog park regularly.
  3. I give them toys, treats, and cuddles occasionally.
  4. I let them sleep on the couch or the bed with me.

 

If you answered mostly a)

  • You are a **dedicated** dog owner. You love your dog like a child and want to give them the best life possible. You are always attentive to their needs and willing to go the extra mile for them.

If you answered mostly b)

  • You are a **casual** dog owner. You enjoy having a dog as a companion and a friend, but you don't obsess over them. You are flexible and easygoing with your dog's routine and diet.

If you answered mostly c)

  • You are a **laid-back** dog owner. You treat your dog like a roommate and a buddy, but you don't spoil them. You are relaxed and confident with your dog's behavior and health.

Of course, these categories are not definitive or exclusive. You can be a mix of different types of dog owners depending on the situation and your mood. The most important thing is that you love your dog and they love you back. That's what makes being a dog owner so awesome!

Trust me; having a dog is not only fun and rewarding, but also good for your health and well-being. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Dogs can reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that petting a dog can lower your blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels, which are associated with stress and anxiety (Nagengast, Baun, Megel, and Leibowitz (1997)). This study found that the mere presence of a dog in the room resulted in lower levels of behavioral distress, blood pressure, and heart rate for healthy pre-school children receiving routine physical examinations. Additionally, Shiloh et al. (2003) found that just two minutes of holding and petting an animal was effective at reducing state anxiety in non-clinical adults. Dogs can also provide emotional support and companionship, especially during difficult times (Kaminski, M., Pellino, T., & Wish, J. (2002)). They can sense when you're feeling down and offer comfort and affection. This is true according to a study by the American Kennel Club, dogs can determine human emotions using only their ears, at least for happiness, fear, and sadness — using the right side of their brain for processing negative emotions and the left side for positive ones and additional data collected on heart rate and behavior, such as tail wagging and yawning, supported these findings (Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT, (2018)). Plus, they can make you laugh with their silly antics and cute expressions.

 

  • Dogs can keep you fit and active. If you are a dog owner, you probably know that walking your dog is not only good for him, but also for you. Walking your dog regularly can provide many health benefits for both of you, as well as strengthen your bond and improve your emotional well-being. Here are some of the benefits of walks with your dog:

 

  • Weight and body condition. Walking is a great way to burn calories and keep your dog and yourself in shape. Obesity can lead to many health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. A University of Utah study in 2014 found that for every minute of brisk walking those women did throughout the day, they lowered their risk of obesity by 5%. By walking your dog can help you lose excess weightby burning more calories, increasing lean muscle mass, and boosting your mood so you’re more likely to keep on walking.

 

  • Joint health. Walking also helps keep your joints healthy and prevent stiffness and pain. Especially for older dogs, walking can improve their mobility and function (Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews 49(1):p 15-22, January 2021). Walking also stimulates the production of synovial fluid (Joe Ford, 2021). Synovial fluid is a fluid which a human body contains that lubricates the joints and reduces friction.

 

  • Mental health. Walking your dog can also provide mental stimulation and enrichment for both of you. It can be hard to motivate yourself to get out of the house if you are doing it by yourself. But there’s no better motivator than your dog giving you big puppy eyes and begging to go for a walk. Having a dog forces you to get outside, which starts a long chain of positive effects for your mental health. Your dog can explore new sights, smells and sounds, which can prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. You can also enjoy the benefits of nature, such as fresh air, sunshine and scenery, which can boost your mood and focus. (WebMD Editorial Contributors, October 2021).

 

  • Emotional health. Walking your dog can improve your emotional health by reducing stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness. It is also a great way to spend quality time with him and strengthen your bond. Your dog craves your attention and affection, and walking him can show him that you care. Walking can also reduce stress and anxiety for both of you, as it releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones. An article from International Journal of Workplace Health Management that compares the differences between employees who bring their dog to work, employees that do not bring their dog to work and employees without pets shows that although perceived stress was similar at baseline; over the course of the day, stress declined for the group with their dogs present and increased on the groups with no dog and no pets (Barker, R.T.Knisely, J.S.Barker, S.B.Cobb, R.K.and Schubert, C.M. (2012)).

 

  • Social health. Walking your dog can also help you connect with other people and dogs in your community. You can meet new friends, exchange tips and stories, and socialize your dog with other friendly dogs. Walking can also increase your sense of responsibility and commitment to your dog's well-being. Studies of animal interventions for older adults indicate that active interactions with dogs lead to increased social interaction (Kramer et al, (2009); Bernstein et al, (2000)). Another study on focus groups with dog owners showed walking their dogs led to increased frequency of social interactions, especially to strangers (Cutt, H.E. et al, (2008)). No matter the reason that dog walking facilitates social interaction, it appears that dog walkers’ conversations with others during their walks are associated with decreased loneliness.

 

As you can see, walking your dog has many benefits for both of you, and it is a simple and enjoyable way to improve your health and happiness. So grab your leash and hit the pavement or the trail with your furry friend today!

 

  • Dogs can boost your immune system and prevent allergies. Did you know that having a dog can actually make you less prone to getting sick or developing allergies? Research has found that exposure to dog dander and microbes can help your immune system develop tolerance and resistance to common allergens and pathogens. This means that having a dog can lower your risk of asthma, eczema, colds and infections (Alexandra Sifferlin, (2012); Alice Park (2012)). An article from The New York Times states that according to research dog ownership raised the levels of 56 different classes of bacterial species in the indoor environment, while naturally more fastidious cats boosted only 24 categories. Also in this article, Dr. Gilbert states that “Exposure to animal bacteria may trigger bacteria in our gut to change how they metabolize the neurotransmitters that have an impact on mood and other mental functions.” Although he cautioned that the research into how pet microbes affect the human gut microbiome remains at an early stage.

 

  • Dogs can teach you valuable life skills. Owning a dog is not all fun and games. It also comes with responsibilities and challenges that can help you grow as a person. By taking care of your dog's needs, such as feeding, grooming, training and vet visits, you can learn how to be more organized, disciplined and compassionate. By dealing with your dog's behavior problems, such as barking, chewing or aggression, you can learn how to be more patient, assertive and creative. By bonding with your dog, you can learn how to communicate better, trust more and love unconditionally. According to the American Pet Product Association’s 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, 58 percent of pet owners say their pets help teach their kids to be responsible. Researchers have found that owners scored higher on measures of empathy and interpersonal trust than did non-owners and that owners reported less loneliness and higher self-esteem than did non-owners (Hyde et al., 1983). McConnell et al. (2011) ).

Now that you are aware of these health benefits, you will never look at your dogs the same way again. These are just some of the reasons why you need to have dogs. Dogs are more than just pets; they are family members who will love you unconditionally and enrich your life in many ways. So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a dog today!

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