We might be biased, but we whole-heartedly believe there’s nothing better than owning a four-legged companion.
The vast majority of dog owners believe their canines have improved their lives.
In fact, 93% of pup parents say their dogs have made them better people.
Whether you already have a dog or you’re considering adding one to your family, you’ve come to the right place!
While the benefits of owning a pooch are virtually endless, we’ve dug into the research, powwowed with devoted dog owners, and compiled a list of 17 advantages of having a canine to love.
With over 300 dog breeds to choose from, there’s a pup for virtually everyone.
If you’re on the fence, read on, and remember… Falling in love with the idea of owning a dog is nothing like the feeling of finding your new fluffy best friend!
The Benefits of Owning a Dog
It’s time to dig into the many reasons owning a dog is doggone awesome!
1. Dogs Make Us More Affectionate
Humans have loved dogs for centuries. It’s believed that people began keeping pups as pets as far back as 30,000 years ago. Legend has it the term “puppy” was coined as a term of endearment based on the word poupée—the name of a doll who’s showered with endless affection.
If you can’t make sense of why people adore dogs and vice versa, you’re certainly not alone. As Time editor Jeffrey Kluger explained in a 2018 article, “What began as a mutual-services contract between two very different species became something much more like love. None of that makes a lick of sense, but it doesn’t have to. Love rarely touches the reasoning parts of the brain. It touches the dreamy parts, the devoted parts—it touches the parts we sometimes call the heart.” We couldn’t have said it better.
2. Dogs Make Us More Active
It’s impossible to stare into those puppy dog eyes and ignore a dog’s unspoken request to venture outside. According to a study conducted by BarkBox, 83% of canine owners credit their dogs for increasing their activity level. Unsurprisingly, 72% of pup parents said their dogs help them make decisions related to exercise. If you’re a sucker for puppy dog eyes, you’ll soon be fit as a fiddle.
3. Dogs Make Us More Responsible
As part of the aforementioned BarkBox survey, 52% of pet owners said their dogs made them more responsible people. There are countless resources recommending dog ownership for boosting kids’ sense of responsibility, so it makes perfect sense that adults could also experience improvement in this area.
4. Dogs Add Structure to Our Days
Establishing a daily routine has been shown to improve quality of life, and there’s no doubt that owning a dog requires structure. Pups are persistent, not at all afraid to plead for outdoor time and a daily walk (or two!) with their person.
If you feel like your daily life has gone haywire, caring for a dog could help calm the chaos and add a sense of order and organization.
5. Dogs Sooth Stress
Everyone experiences stress, and dogs can help us cope. Petting a pup induces production of relaxation-promoting hormones and wards off stress hormones. In addition to being beneficial for humans, petting your furry best friend will also sooth him or her.
6. Dogs Lift Our Spirits
The mood-lifting benefits of owning a dog are downright amazing. If you deal with anxiety and/or depression, a pup might just be the best medicine. There are endless accounts of people who have experienced a boost in mood and overall mental health after taking in a pet. Dogs love unconditionally, making their humans feel valued. Plus, the comfort and companionship pups offer make their owners feel less alone.
7. Dogs Make Us More Social
If you’re a homebody, introvert, and/or looking to expand your circle, owning a dog could have a serious impact on your social life. “Dog people” tend to interact with each other, and even non-dog owners can’t resist approaching an adorable pooch at the park or on the street.
8. Dogs Can Lower Our Blood Pressure
If your heart isn’t currently in tiptop shape, a pup could be beneficial. WebMD reports that owning a dog can actually lower blood pressure in humans. That’s because folks with canine companions tend to walk more that non-pup parents.
According to the same report, dog owners who have had heart attacks and those with an abnormal heart rhythm typically live longer than people without pets.
9. Dog Owners Visit the Doctor Less
If you invest in a dog, you will quite possibly make less trips to the doc. According to Psychology Today, “pet ownership saves us billions of dollars in health care costs each year.” Why? Individuals with pets visit their physicians 0.6 times less than their non-pet-owning counterparts. That might not seem like a marked difference, but with 132.8 million pet owners in the U.S., the savings really add up!
10. Dogs Make Waking Up Easier
Do you struggle to get out of bed every morning? A four-legged friend could help. The BarkBox study mentioned above found that nearly four out of five dog owners rise more easily in the morning. We totally get it… Who doesn’t love catching a glimpse of a doe-eyed pooch first thing in the morning?
11. Dogs are Always There
While occasional family feuds, disagreements with friends, or quarrels with coworkers may be unavoidable, your pup will never pass judgment or hold a grudge. Dogs are incredibly loyal, offering unwavering companionship and comfort. Canines simply never run out of love to give, so you can count on your pooch even when times are tough.
12. Dogs Expand Our Hearts
It may sound cheesy, but the majority of pup parents love their dogs more than they ever could’ve imagined. An astounding nine out of ten dog owners who completed the BarkBox survey said they adore their dogs more than they thought possible. Over half of the participants would love to be able to express to their pups just how much they love them.
As further proof of the unshakable human-dog bond, study participants in relationships admitted that they say “I love you” to their pups just as often as they profess their love to their partners. Most also confessed that they’re more tolerant of their dogs’ undesirable behaviors than those of their fellow humans.
13. Dogs Boost the Immune System and Ward Off Allergies in Kids
If you have a small human at home, adding a pup to your family may give your child’s health a boost. Recent research suggests that kids who grow up with dogs are less likely to develop common autoimmune problems, including allergies and asthma.
14. Dogs Help Us Deal with Health Problems and Injuries
There are numerous health benefits associated with dog ownership. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease tend to find the presence of dogs incredibly soothing, and canines can even be trained to detect certain types of cancer.
Service dogs can be used to assist folks with mobility issues, blindness, deafness, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cancer, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These amazing animals can literally save lives.
15. Dogs Help Us Tap Into Our Individual Personalities
Are you extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, intelligent, or creative? If you’re unsure, the type of dog you choose may offer some insight into your unique personality.
An enlightening article published by Prevention outlines what your chosen dog breed says about you. For instance, if you’re drawn to hounds, you probably register fairly high on the emotional stability scale. If you can’t resist a utility dog, you’re likely caring and conscientious.
16. Dogs Can Make Us More Compassionate and Empathetic
It probably comes as no surprise to learn that dog ownership has been linked to increased compassion and empathy, especially in children. Boys and girls who live side-by-side with pets develop a positive attitude towards animals. It’s also believed that having an attachment to a pet in childhood can actually help regulate kids’ emotions. While any pet attachment is beneficial, it’s no surprise that children with dogs form stronger attachments.
17. Dogs Keep Us Safe
Better than any burglar alarm, dogs have the ability to keep their humans safe. A barking dog is one of the best deterrents for home invaders. Plus, dogs have an amazing sense of smell and hearing, which can help alert their owners to danger. Dogs’ powerful instincts have saved human lives time after time.
Are You Ready to Become a Dog Owner?
If you’re still unsure if owning a dog is right for you, consider visiting a local shelter or reputable breeder, attend a dog show, or contact a rescue organization.
While reading about the many benefits of dog ownership can be convincing, it often takes meeting a pooch in person to banish any uncertainty.
Once you lay eyes on the perfect pup, there’s no going back. Prepare to fall in love.