Love, Loyalty, and Laughter: 5 Benefits of Having a Family Dog

family
September 07, 2017

If you’re a dog lover, you probably know all the great reasons to have a dog. This article isn’t necessarily for you (but there’s cute pictures of dogs, so you should probably look anyway)—it’s for people who don’t understand the joys of loving a dog.

My parents have a dog who adores her people more than anything else on the planet. She recognizes the entire family and will literally jump for joy as soon as she sees you. It can be overwhelming, but let me tell you, it’s glorious to be loved like that.

Dogs are incredible for their ability to love, but that’s not all they’re good for. In fact, many studies have shown that families with dogs are happier and healthier. Check out these reasons that family dogs can improve your life.

1. You’re more likely to be physically fit

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According to a study at Michigan State University, dog owners are more likely to fit in exercise during the week than non-dog owners. Dogs can help you stay motivated to reach your personal fitness goals and gain confidence.

2. Your children’s health will improve

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Not only are you more likely to exercise, but if you have children, studies have shown that they will probably be healthier with a dog around. One study showed that, during a child’s first year of life, those whose families had dogs or cats had fewer ear infections and colds than families without dogs. As a result of this, they needed fewer antibiotics during that year.

3. You’ll be more empathetic

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According to some evidence, humans who spend more time with animals like dogs tend to be more empathetic in their interactions with humans. One possible reason for this is that dogs have a non-judgmental nature—you can essentially tell them anything. Humans pick up on this non-judgmental nature from their interactions with pets and apply it to interactions with humans.

4. They can improve your mood

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There something so pure about being loved by a dog. You know that they’ll continue to love you regardless of how awful your day was. You have absolutely no obligation to talk to them, yet they’ll love you regardless. On an especially bad day, their non-judgmental presence might help you start to see the good in the world again.

5. Animals improve your overall health

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Therapy dogs have been shown to lower your heart rate, increase your production of oxytocin, and reduce your stress. These all can help to improve your overall health. Many college campuses actually invite therapy dogs onto their campus during finals to help students deal with the stress involved with exams.

Dogs can have a major impact on your health and happiness. What’s the risk of adopting one? A lifetime of happiness? I’d say that’s worth it.

Are there any benefits of owning a dog that we missed? Let us know on Facebook or use the hashtag #InspiringDay.

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