Dogs are commonly called “man’s best friend”, and there’s a good reason for that. Since dogs were domesticated somewhere between 14,000 and 29,000 years ago, they’ve been constant, faithful companions for humans. Whether it’s a giant Great Dane or a tiny Chihuahua, you know that your dog is going to be there for you no matter what. First pet owners and longtime animal veterans alike love dogs, and we’re going to break down some of the reasons why. Here are 12 reasons to get a dog.
1. They’re faithful companions
Dogs are some of the most loyal animals around. They’ll be by your side through thick and thin, but you have to show them an equal amount of respect if you want them to be firm friends. Don’t assume you can treat a dog badly and expect them to stick around. If you’re loving, kind, and faithful to your dog, you can expect them to reciprocate, providing you with companionship at all times.
2. They help you get exercise
All dogs will need regular walks. While the amount of exercise will depend on the breed, most dogs need to be walked at least once a day, with some breeds (like Huskies or Malamutes) needing to be walked much more frequently. This means dogs are an excellent way to ensure you get enough exercise each day, especially if your pooch is particularly energetic!
3. They can help prevent allergies
Just like cats, dogs can also help to prevent allergies and promote healthy immune systems in kids. If you’ve already developed animal allergies as an adult, getting a dog sadly won’t help you to fend off the sniffles, but kids will benefit enormously from having an animal about the house. Dogs also help to prevent allergies caused by dust and other common allergens!
4. They help calm kids
If you’ve got kids who struggle with hyperactivity or being overly energetic, playing with dogs can go a long way towards helping them to maintain calm. Of course, you should supervise their play at all times to ensure they’re not hurting the animal, but if you’re confident your child is safe to play with your dog, it can help both the child and the dog to interact in this way.
5. They’re great stress relievers
Playing with dogs releases oxytocin, a hormone known to lower anxiety and increase feelings of comfort and happiness. It’s beneficial for the whole family to interact with dogs in this way; simply looking into their big puppy eyes will help you to feel soothed and less stressed out. Dogs are for life, of course, so you shouldn’t get one just to relieve stress, but this is a great additional benefit to having a pet.
6. They help you socialise
Walking your dog can lead to encounters with other dog owners, which could in turn help you make new friends. You could even meet a potential new romantic partner while you’re walking your dog! Places where dog owners congregate, like dog parks, can be excellent places to go if you’re looking for companionship, and your little friend is a great conversation starter.
7. They help you sleep
Studies have shown that sleeping next to your dog can improve your quality of sleep. Some of the most common reasons people fail to sleep include constantly feeling anxious or alert, and your furry friend can alleviate these feelings in much the same way that a human companion would. Make sure you don’t stop your dog from sleeping in bed with you if you’re looking to get better sleep!
8. They make us laugh
Are you lacking a little humour in your life? Dogs could be the answer to that conundrum. Studies have shown that pet owners who owned dogs – or both dogs and cats – laughed consistently more than those who only owned cats or didn’t own any pets at all. It’s easy to see why; dogs are capable of very silly behaviour indeed, and some of the things they do are truly hilarious.
9. They could save your life
Dogs are more than just companions; they could also be responsible for saving your life. In 2014, a cat’s life was saved by a blood transfusion from a dog, who had a universal blood donor type. There have also been accounts of dogs managing to raise emergency alarms when their owners collapse or pass out, so if you suffer from a health condition, a dog could be the perfect friend for you.
10. They give you a sense of purpose
If your life feels like it’s lacking in purpose, looking after an animal can help with that immensely. While you shouldn’t adopt an animal solely to achieve this, it’s definitely a good way to bring some meaning back into your life if you feel like this is an issue for you. Dogs require companionship and care, so no matter what happens, your animal friend will always need you.
11. They improve mood
To put it simply, dogs can immeasurably improve your mood. Have you ever been down, only to be approached by a dog (or approach one yourself) and feel your mood being lifted? Having a dog as a pet will give you instant access to that feeling whenever you need it. Happiness is hard to achieve, but a little furry friend (or a big one!) could help you reach this goal.
12. They teach responsibility
Both children and adults alike could often use a lesson in responsibility, and dogs are a great way to impart that lesson. Dogs are for life, not just for Christmas, as the saying goes, and so if you have a dog in your life, you’ll always need to look after it. This is a good way to teach someone that they won’t be able to run away from or shirk their responsibilities in life.