8 Benefits of Having a Dog - Some Might Surprise You

8 Benefits of Having a Dog - Some Might Surprise You

Author WDF Staff


Before you get a dog, you mostly worry about how you’ll handle all the responsibility. Dog ownership is no small thing. We love to imagine all the positive sides, like playing and walking in nature. However, most dog owners cannot even imagine what the benefits of having a dog are.

You won’t just get a new companion; you will get a new family member. Dogs are a part of family life, and you can ask any dog owner whether they can imagine having a life without a dog. All of them will give you the same answer - a resounding no.

Here is a list of the benefits of having a dog;

1. Dogs cure loneliness

Besides unconditional love, one of the biggest benefits dog owners get from their dogs is - the cure for loneliness. Your dog will be there for you when no one else does. They will eagerly wait for your return home every day.

dog and girl

Only a dog owner knows the feeling of pure joy and excitement that waits for them after being in the office for 9 or 10 hours. There is nothing purer than a dog being happy their owner returned home. Luckily, this is not only a hunch. There is scientific evidence that proves 85% of people who have interactions with pets have reduced feelings of loneliness. 

2. Heart health

Dogs can do wonders for your heart. Studies that started in the 1950s have proven that dog owners are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases. One of the significant health concerns and the leading cause of heart attacks is stress. Bonding with dogs reduces stress, and dog owners are less likely to suffer from such health concerns.

cuddling a dog

Numerous studies proved some of the benefits of having a dog are reduced blood pressure and better dealing with stress. One study confirmed that people who have already suffered a coronary event had a reduced risk of suffering another one if they became dog owners. Dogs are great for our hearts, figuratively and literally.

3. Dogs reduce stress

Another health benefit of having a dog is - reduced stress levels. There is a good reason dogs make such fantastic therapy animals. At the University of Washington, scientists proved that petting a dog even for 10 minutes helps lower blood pressure, heart rate, relax muscles, and slows breathing down.

dog looking at their owner

Therapy dogs are specialized in helping patients deal with stress and anxiety. These dogs have a calming effect, and scientific research proved that people who pet dogs regularly had lower cortisol levels (stress hormone).

4. Tough times

Dogs make us feel great. They offer us support in tough times, which is what scientists at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine thought. They created a study where they watched Veterans cope with PTSD.

The amazing thing they found out was that Veterans with therapy and service dogs had shown significantly better results. They had fewer PTSD symptoms, and they developed better coping mechanisms than Veterans without dogs. This just shows what type of support dogs can offer us.

5. Dogs encourage physical activity

This might be something most dog owners already know, but since the 2019 British study, we have exact numbers that confirm what most of us already knew. Dog owners are more active than people that do not share their life with a dog. Dog owners feel this direct health benefit of owning a dog.

dog and human running

All dog walks, no matter where you might go, add up. Dog owners walk on average 300 minutes a week (full 5 hours). An average person walks only about 100 minutes. People that have a dog are physically active 200 minutes a week more than those that do not have a dog.

6. Dogs make us seem more attractive

Even in the modern, virtual world, the proximity of a dog makes us seem more attractive. There were numerous studies where men were observed during social interactions with women. There were two scenarios; in the first, a man was with a dog; in the second, the man was without one.

active dog owner

Researchers observed that men were more likely to get a woman’s phone number if they had a dog with them. Online studies proved that women “liked” more men that included their dogs in their profile photos. So, if you are looking for a date, we know a four-legged companion that can make a pretty good wingman.

7. Dogs improve our social lives

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University organized a study where they wanted to determine the effect dogs have on their owner’s social life and interactions. They observed that 40% of dog owners felt like they made new friends easier. Dogs are the perfect ice breakers and conversation starters.

full dog park

If you already are a dog owner, think about all the times you talked with new people while walking your dog along the street. Dog parks make ideal chances of meeting new people, and dog owners usually form new friendships, even later in life.

8. Overall feeling of happiness

This is probably one of the best benefits of having a dog - they make us happy. A 2009 Japanese study proved that staring in your dog’s eyes lifts the spirit. They have proved that looking at your dog boosts oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.”

Dogs are generally pretty fun to be around. Their antics and ideas can make you laugh and entertain you for hours. Whatever you want to do with your dog, they will be up for it. They don’t care what adventure you take them on, as long as they are close to their beloved person.

World Dog Finder team

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