Ever wondered what the benefits are of owning a furry friend? In today’s article, we’ll unpack the benefits of dog ownership on both our health and our happiness – two intangibles that are so often intertwined. So, let’s not beat around the bush. Here’s what we can be thankful for….

Dogs lift our spirits after a long day

Studies show that animal lovers get a boost of oxytocin when they interact with a treasured animal. Oxytocin is a hormone commonly known to regulate “social bonding”, and it’s the same hormone released after a mother gives birth to a child. Yep, that feel-good feeling floods through us when we’re greeted by our dogs come home-time.

Dogs encourage us to get outdoors

There’s no sitting still with a dog around. In fact, studies show that dogs help us to lower our blood pressure, in part because we’re forced to get more exercise. Scientists have also posited that dogs are natural stress-relievers (despite the stress they might cause!) capable of thickening our resolve and keeping our head high during a grueling day at work.

Dogs teach us about ourselves

Obesity, cancer and dementia are just a few of the ailments that humans and dogs both suffer from. Perhaps in part because dogs have evolved around humans, their symptoms are incredibly similar to ours, and scientists have been able to turn to dogs to understand the human condition better. Incredibly, dogs are not only man’s best friend, but also a source of medical knowledge as well.

Dogs help us make friends with other people

Not only are dogs social creatures that keep us endlessly entertained, they also help us make friends with others. As we age and our social circle diminishes, having a dog helps us meet people, and gives us a community to belong to. This shouldn’t be underestimated, and it’s one reason dogs are popular amongst people who have retired.

Dogs are great for children

Dogs teach children all sorts of things: how to be more patient; how to behave; how to enjoy being active. You only have to watch a dog and a child interacting to realize that there are educational benefits taking place that go well beyond the classroom. Moreover, despite the old adage that dogs promote allergies, studies show that young children who grow up around dogs are less likely to suffer from allergies. A 2004 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that children are less likely to suffer from pet-related allergies by as much as 33 percent when they’re surrounded by pets early in life.

Dogs give our lives structure

Dogs love routine and they’ll absolutely force you to adopt one. This can be great for people who lack structure. Having an animal to look after, to feed, to walk, ensures that even the most disaffected person stays busy. Yes, studies also demonstrate that dogs can be an invaluable help against the scourge of depression. The mere fact that a dog needs attention and constant work is a powerful agent for boosting one’s mood, because staying busy is known to ward off the blues.

Dogs look after us

Many dogs are specially trained to look after people with ailments like arthritis, blindness, and chronical physical impairments. There’s no better animal on earth for treating us when we’re in pain, ill at ease, or unable to move. For this reason, dogs are a godsend for the elderly.  

All things considered, dogs make reliable companions that boost our mood and make us feel good after a long day. Sure, they might take a little bit of work, but as we’ve outlined in the article above, staying busy can often be the best thing of all!