The positive effects of owning a dog on mental health have been well documented. Sharing fun times with a furry friend makes many people feel more relaxed, lowering blood pressure and reducing the symptoms of mental health problems, for example.
Introducing a dog into your life brings you benefits far beyond basic companionship. The reason that they make such valuable companions is that their benefits are multiple and varied. If you are debating whether or not to bring a dog into your family, this article serves as a guide for all the points that should be on your list of ‘pros’.
Dogs give you unconditional love for life. There is nothing quite like the fuzzy feeling of cuddling up to your dog and enjoying the obvious love that it has for you. Every time they get excited to go on a walk with you or play in the yard, you are reminded how much they adore spending time with you. It’s no wonder that dogs claimed the title of man’s best friend.
Dogs help you stay more active. Whether it be a quick game of ‘fetch’ or a walk around the block, dog owners are more or less contractually obligated to exercise! Your dog will require daily exercise to stay happy and healthy, and you will quickly start seeing the physical and mental benefits too.
You could enrich your social life. Having a dog introduces you to plenty of different social situations which could see you meet more people. Your dog will probably not be too shy about bounding over to meet another dog - and you will at least need to say ‘hello’ to the other dog’s owner! Aside from meeting people on walks, you might attend classes with your dog in obedience or agility, helping you get to know other dog owners.
Your dog’s enthusiasm will be infectious. At the end of a long day, your dog will often greet you as if they haven’t seen you for weeks! They love the simple things in life - snacks and exercise are enough to keep them more than happy. If you take good care of your dog, their zest for life might rub off on you a little.
They can bring their companionship to the workplace. Your dog can even extend their friendly nature to your workplace! If you work somewhere that allows dogs, their presence can bring a team together and provide a spark of joy in everyone’s day. This has even been scientifically proven.
Dogs are great at teaching responsibility. If you have kids, teaching them to take care of your dog is a great way to show them the importance of responsibility. If they know that their dog relies on them for dinner or an afternoon walk, they will begin strengthening their responsibility and organizational skills.
Dogs don’t judge! Even when you’re having a rough day, they will be more than happy to settle in by your side and listen to your complaints. Your dog will never pass up an opportunity to cuddle.
This is just a quick list of some of the main ways dogs make great companions - the full list would be too long to write down! If you are considering whether to bring a dog into your life, considering their excellent companionship is a key place to start.
Jack Vale is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with pet mobility specialists, Walkin’ Pets.