Have your kids been begging you for a dog? Maybe you have been considering adopting one. No matter the breed, dogs make loyal lifetime companions and can make any house feel like a home.
Need a reason why you should get a dog? There are so many reasons to bring a dog into your home, and here are eight of them.
Dogs Make Great Companions
Loneliness is one of the most universal feelings, and if you are looking for a reason why you should get a dog, constant companionship is one of the best. Dogs are incredibly intuitive animals and they seem to have a sixth sense for knowing when you need a little extra love and support. You do not have to explain how you are feeling, you do not have to justify what you are feeling, your dog will simply be there for you because they love you.
Your dog does not know how to fix your problems, but he does know you have them and that his support will help you. Some people may use a decorative rock or a crystal as a physical reminder of calmness and peace during times of stress, and a family dog can provide the same type of physical touchstone of companionship.
Another universal feeling is the desire to be needed and loved. Dogs offer love and loyalty that are truly unparalleled. Whether you make a ton of money or you live paycheck to paycheck, your dog will be true and loyal and love you. Your dog will give you and your family companionship every single day of her life. All your dog asks in return is for attention and your love.
Dogs Are Calming and Therapeutic
Want another reason why you should get a dog? Multiple studies have found that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those who do not own pets. On hard days when you feel like you would just rather pull the shades shut and curl up in bed, a dog can provide you with love, support, and motivation.
A 2009 study in Japan found that just staring into the eyes of your dog raises your level of oxytocin. Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” provides a natural boost in mood and pleasant feelings.
In addition to providing soothing companionship to help ease depression and anxiety, dogs also help give their owners a sense of purpose in life. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open in 2019 suggests that people who feel a strong sense of purpose in life are less likely to die from heart disease.
Even if you are not concerned now with heart disease, simply taking your dog for a walk or feeding them in the morning can motivate you on days when you are experiencing lower moods. Not only will walking your dog motivate you to get going, but being out of your home and connected to the outside world can also have a significant positive impact on your mood.
Everyone in Your Family Will Learn How to Care for a Pet
Caring for your new dog goes beyond making home renovations to ensure his safety. Whether you have always owned a dog or you are bringing one into your home for the very first time, learning to care for a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences.
From doctors and lawyers to home inspectors and teachers, everyone is humbled by taking care of a dog. In addition to the daily tasks like taking your dog outside to use the bathroom, preparing food, and walking your dog for exercise, caring for a dog teaches you – and your children – some very important life lessons.
Beyond the obvious lessons children learn, like responsibility and kindness, children will learn social skills and beneficial interpersonal skills when caring for a pet. Need a reason why you should get a dog? Empathy, compassion, motivation, and improved self-esteem are all things both you and your children will gain when you add a dog to the family.
Training a dog takes time, and letting your children help you teach your dog simple commands like sit and stay can do wonders for their own self-esteem. Not only will you and your child feel a sense of accomplishment when your dog obeys, but you will also feel immense pride and joy seeing the look of triumph on your pup’s face when he does something that he knows makes you happy.
Your Kids Will Learn Responsibility
Your kids learn responsibility gradually. From a young age, you teach them to take charge of things like their oral health, then you encourage them to help with things like laundry and floor cleaning. Taking care of their health and helping around the house are important ways to teach your kids how to care for themselves later in life, but having them help take care of a pet will teach them to care for others.
Teaching your children to take care of something other than themselves is another good reason why you should get a dog. Whether you have very young children or teenagers, there are age-appropriate pet responsibilities that they can handle. Experts suggest not giving pet chores to children under five without supervision, but you can help your younger children get the dog water or scoop food into the bowl.
Older children can be responsible for taking the dog outside to use the bathroom, feeding, and providing water. Exercising as a family is a great way to encourage lifelong healthy habits, but on days where you just are too busy, you can have older children take the dogs on the daily walk.
Everyone can help groom your dog, but if you have younger children, make sure they understand the importance of being gentle. If a dog requires medication, task an older child or teenager with making sure the proper dosage is given at the right time.
Dogs Encourage Social Interaction
Another reason why you should get a dog? As mentioned above, owning a dog helps to reduce feelings of loneliness, but having a furry friend can go a step further. Children make friends easily. With close interactions at school and after-school activities like sports and dance, kids are frequently around others with similar interests.
As you age, getting out and finding new friends tends to become harder, and that makes sense. Adults spend so much time at work, cooking behind ovens, and caring for a family that finding time to socialize can be difficult. If you are looking for friends, social interaction is one reason why you should get a dog.
A British study found that 40% of dog owners speak with other dog owners during their daily walks. Why? It is easy to acknowledge an adorable little pooch, and research has shown time and again that once people begin to discuss their dogs, they tend to open up more and conversation flows more freely. Much like stories about children, people love telling funny or cute stories about their furry family members.
An additional study in Applied Animal Behaviour Science specifically looked at the social lives of families before and after adopting dogs. This 1996 study found that families had more social interactions, both inside the home entertaining guests and outside of the home following the adoption of their pet dogs.
Know a single family member? Encourage them to adopt a dog! Appearing more attractive is another reason why you should get a dog. Studies have found that men are more likely to ask women for their phone numbers if the women have dogs with them. Additionally, numerous studies have found that having a dog in a profile picture on a dating app makes people more likely to express interest. The assumption is that people with pets are caring and empathetic, which are highly desirable traits in a partner.
Your Family Will Get More Exercise
Ask any family physician what families could use more of and exercise will almost certainly be the top answer. With different schedules to keep, school, and work, finding time to exercise can be difficult. But if you are looking for a reason why you should get a dog, exercise is a great one.
One of the reasons that exercising as a family is beneficial is that children learn what they experience. Modeling healthy behaviors, like daily walks, will help your child learn to prioritize their health and will make them more likely to continue healthy habits later in life.
Walking the dog is great, but that is not the only type of exercise you can enjoy with your dog. Some families like to take a dip with their pups on a hot summer day, while others love spending lazy Saturdays playing fetch.
Dogs Teach Children Unconditional Love
A good reason why you should get a dog is to help your child feel compassion and love free from judgment. Everyone has things they do not like about themselves or things that they can improve, but dogs have a unique ability to love everyone just as they are. You may think you need varicose vein treatment to make yourself more attractive, but your dog thinks you are beautiful and deserving of love no matter what. Your child may feel a dip in self-esteem after receiving a poor grade on a test, but the family dog will still think that your child is the best human to walk the earth.
This unconditional love and support not only makes children feel good about themselves, but it can also help them learn to trust. When a child understands that a pet will be by their side steadfastly no matter what else is happening in their life, they learn to trust, which will help them form more meaningful relationships.
Another skill children learn when caring for dogs is respect. Respect is a crucial part of interpersonal relationships, and young children will learn boundaries through caring for a dog. It can be hard to expect a child to understand boundaries, but with a dog, it is easier. Children will learn that gentle touches are required and that there are times, like eating and sleeping, when boundaries need to be respected.
While it is never pleasant to think about the death of a dog, learning how to grieve is a skill that humans need to develop. Children are more resilient than adults when it comes to bereavement, but they still experience loss in a profound way.
Dogs Can Protect You
Need one last reason why you should get a dog? Whether you are a premises liability injury attorney, pastor, or entertainer, dogs can provide you with protection. Even with a high-tech security system, your home can be vulnerable to attacks. There have been surveys done among prisoners charged with burglary, and an overwhelming number of respondents said that home security signs are not necessarily a deterrent. However, a barking dog was frequently cited as a deterrent for would-be burglars, particularly if the dog sounds large or intimidating.
Beyond providing home security, dogs are highly tuned in to their human companions and can sense when something is wrong. In part, this is why the concept of medical and service dogs is so popular. While adopting a family dog is not the same as receiving a highly trained service dog, your dog will know when something is not quite right with one of its humans and can alert you to potential danger.
Stress is one area of concern for many American households, and a significant reduction in stress is another reason why you should get a dog. Between the emotional companionship, physical activity, and sense of purpose that caring for a dog gives an owner, dogs make life more fun. Sometimes, the best thing in the world is seeing your dog’s tail wag as you walk in the door from a long day at work or school. Dogs give so much, require so little, and make every home a happier one.