Dogs are considered a man’s best friend and for good reason — our relationships with them have spanned for at least 15,000 according to recent archaeo-geneticist studies. Nowadays, over 65% of American households own a pet, whether it is a dog or cat. Keeping a dog creates an emotional bond and they’re quickly considered to be a part of the family. 

Outside of the benefits of having a companion, having a dog actually provides some health benefits. Let’s look into some examples as to how.

How Dogs Increase Our Physical Health 

Dogs are great companions — they’re extremely adaptable and often are happy mimicking your energy level. However, they always want to please you and are ready to go on a walk or run anytime. Do they ever bring you a toy and lay it at your feet? That’s both them begging to play and it’s them wanting to please you — they see how happy you get when they’re playing and want to emulate that as much as possible. 

Therefore, it’s safe to say that having a dog increases the frequency of having regular exercise. They’ll encourage you to get up and play, talk a walk, or just walk in the backyard with them as they do their business. On top of that, most dogs require at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, which means you get at least 30 minutes along with them. 

Keep in mind that not all dogs are able to walk as much as you. Sometimes, your dog needs some extra support to get the exercise they need. If this is the case, look into getting them a dog ACL brace. This way, they’ll be supported and can continue to be your walking companion, safely. 

Reduces the Risks of Cardiovascular Disease

The American Heart Association reported that owning a dog exerts beneficial effects to prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and coronary heart diseases. In fact, several studies found a close association between dog ownership and heart health. This is likely due to the higher physical activity required when you own a dog. You can’t stay stagnant — dogs get you moving. 

Additionally, they also help reduce stress and help you relax, which can contribute to heart health. We’ll get more into that in the next section, though. 

Emotional Health Benefits

Having a dog also improves mental health. How? Well, humans create a hormone and a neurotransmitter known as dopamine when they see something cute or when they look at someone/something they love. A dog ticks off both of those categories. In other words, having a dog helps you feel happy. 

That’s not all. They (in fact, most pets do this) also help reduce your stress and anxiety. A national survey conducted by Birmingham’s National Pet Show reveals that 98% of pet owners believe that their pet helps them feel calmer. Their presence is comforting — it’s as simple as that. 

That, paired with a dog’s eagerness to please, means they are great at reading your emotions. They’ll instinctively know when they should cuddle with you or when they should act silly to try and get you to laugh. They truly are a man’s best friend! 

Dogs Help You Socially Too 

Dogs are an amazing ice breaker and help you meet new people or stay connected to others. You are likely to meet new people every day while walking your dog. This daily socialization can help you overcome social anxieties, as well as meet new friends. It’s as simple as asking someone their dog’s name, what breed they are, when they got them, or if you can pet them. 

As always though, respect the dog owner’s wishes! After all, you wouldn’t want someone you didn’t know to approach you and start petting your dog without permission, right? In this case, dogs help you set up boundaries as well. This is essential for dog owners, and humans in general. It helps keep you and your dog (and others) safe, as well as gives you the confidence in your own self-established boundaries. 

Having a Dog Means Having Something to Love

A dog is a member of your family. Though studies are mixed on whether they love you (we believe they can), there is no doubt that you can love your dog. Your brain releases oxytocin when you look at something or someone you love, your dog included. This hormone, not unlike dopamine, makes you feel good. It leaves a warm and fuzzy feeling behind, which helps eliminate stress, depression, and anxiety. 

Finally, it also means you’re happier to come home and helps give you a reason to look forward to being active and having other responsibilities. Having a dog means having a companion, it means watching them grow up with your children, seeing your partner act silly while playing with them, or just having a warm body to snuggle with. It’s a bond that everyone needs to experience to understand, and one we highly recommend to you.