I saw many people already published 100 benefits of having a dog. After reading those I found most of them had actually no benefits and they were just enhancing the list only.
However, I have shown the 20 benefits of having a dog which had actual effects on our day-to-day life. Benefits depend on the mind of the observer. That’s why it has a variety of benefits.
Dogs are called man’s best friend and the most popular pets in the world according to many stats for some reasons. There are numerous advantages of dogs for human beings including social benefits, health benefits, and mental benefits.
Here are the benefits of having a dog (A Complete List)
01. Dog makes you feel less stressed
Stress relief is the best benefit of having a dog. It is discovered in a lot of studies that dogs can actually reduce our stress levels. In a research, it is found that dog owners can exhale less stress hormones in the body. That’s why it is called, “in our life full of stress, dogs can give us a little relief”.
The effects usually outweigh the stress caused by the effects of caring for a dog and can generally diminish the stress. In our day-to-day lives, spending some time with a pet dog and playing with it, petting it, and even watching it can decrease our stress.
In a study by the scientists of Washington State University, it is found that you can have great effects by petting your dogs only for 10 minutes. Those who were the participants in the study actually had a notable cutting in a major stress hormone called cortical.
02. Dog is the best companion
Another top benefit of having a dog is “A dog is an a 100 times better companion than even a spouse”. From ancient times dogs were kept as companions. In the past, people used them mainly as a hunter dog or guard dog and even as a sled runner in the ice-covered area. Though the aim has changed a bit, even now they are seen all over the world.
There are thousands of breeds available with thousands of benefits. But one of the main reasons why dogs are kept is as a loyal companions. You can feel such strong emotional ties to your dog. It is your friend, your family member, your confidantes. Even if you are poor in social interaction, you will not find it difficult to make a relationship with a dog.
Dogs are a natural mood booster. Research has discovered that if you spend a few minutes with them or play with them, the production of “feel-good” hormone serotonin will increase. Keeping a dog by your side while walking or at home will make you feel more safe and secure and remove your loneliness.
03. Dog motivates you to do more movement and exercise
This is one of the best benefits of having a dog for the lazy person as well. Owning a pet dog will encourage you to do some physical activities and exercise every day. There is almost no dog who does not want to go outside to have a walk or to play in the park with the owner. Pet dogs actually stand by the door to give a signal to owners that they are waiting to go for a walk.
Hence, if you do not feel like skipping a workout, you will surely feel motivated after looking at your dog and your mind will push you to go. Taking your dog out for a walk for only 30 minutes every day can gradually improve your health.
A British study in 2019 shows that the chances of dog owners completing the daily physical activity guidelines are almost four times more than those who do not have any dog. It is estimated that every week dog owners walk 300 minutes with their dogs which are 200 more minutes more than the non-dog owners.
04. Dog improves your social life by making you more attractive
I personally own this benefit of having a dog and my dog made me attractive among my friends. Many people like to keep a dog with them or take photos and post them on social platforms to get more attraction. A recent study says that 65 percent of dog owners like to take more photos of their dogs compared to their significant others.
But does a dog really makes you more attractive to the people of your opposite sex? It is discovered in a study of Pet Wingman that if the men and women add a profile photo of their pups, they tend to swipe right more and the women actually got more benefit than the men with dogs in their profile photos.
A long series of studies show that when the men had a dog by their sides, they were more likely to get a woman’s phone number. Researchers asked general people to rate people in photographs in another study. They got the evidence that people who were with a dog in photos looked happier and more relaxed than others.
05. Dog helps you to keep your heart healthier
Owning a dog can help you to keep your heart fit and healthy. In the study, researchers found that having a pet dog can reduce a person’s heart rate by which dog owners tend to have a healthy heart comparatively. In a comprehensive review of studies published between 1950 and 2019, it is said that dog owners had a lower risk of death.
Eventually, some researchers have claimed that the person having a dog has much more chance to survive a heart attack than the non-dog owners. In addition, particularly male pet owners have a great chance to experience a reduced rate of heart disease. Some studies express that the owner of a dog used to experience a reduction in blood pressure levels and increased responses to stress. As the dogs reduce stress and help you do more physical activities, people tend to have less cardiovascular problems.
06. Dog can remove your loneliness
Kristen Fuller, M.D. and clinical mental health writer says, “Dogs are one of the people’s most popular companions.” Now in this modern world, human beings have fallen apart. Though people are connected on social platforms, the distance between people is spreading.
As a result, you might feel lonely and anxious. In these circumstances, dogs can be there for you and remove your loneliness. When you are feeling low a simple hug can boost your mind. Dogs love you unconditionally and do not want anything in exchange for it. A small Australian study has shown that dogs decrease the loneliness of owners.
The Human-Animal Bond Research Institute did a national survey on pet owners and non-pet owners. After summing up they discovered that 85 percent of respondents strongly thought that spending time with pets has diminished their loneliness. Most of them admit that interaction between humans and pets can assist people to address social isolation.
07. Dog helps you to lose weight
Are you worried about your weight? Want to lose some pounds? Get yourself a dog and start hoofing. Your pet dog will definitely encourage you to do some physical activities and exercise every day even if you are lazy. It is discovered in many types of research that regular walking with your dog helps you to lose weight as it motivates you or sometimes forces you to go outside.
This moderate physical activity for only 10, 20 or 30 minutes at a time will help you to burn more calories. Another study in 2010 says that those public housing dwellers that walked 20 minutes a day with “loaner” dogs five times a week lost an average of 14.4 pounds in 50 weeks. Most importantly, dog owners find it their responsibility to take dogs out for a walk instead of exercising. So this way without any extra effort they burn down some calories and stay fit.
08. Dog is great with your children
Most of the house dogs are safe with Children. There are many breeds that like to stay and are affectionate towards toddlers. It is strongly believed that dogs posed a positive impact on children. A study stated children who are attached to pets such as dogs, can help them to control their emotions.
Another study suggests that if children are grown up with pets, they may develop better immunity against allergies. Even teenagers are influenced by pet dogs. One study discovered that young people of age from 18 to 26 have higher levels of connection and satisfaction with their community and relationships when they are able to build strong bonds with their pets. The study also found that having a pet at young teen and young adult age was correlated with a better sense of empathy and confidence in those persons.
09. Dog helps elders with cognitive function and mental support
Various studies have occurred on elders to find the effects of dogs on them. One study explores that pet therapy develops the cognitive function of elders and cures mental illness in long-term care. In this period of time seniors get irritated too easily.
In another study, a significant reduction in offending behavior in seniors is found with improved social interactions. When people grow old they feel too lonely and in need of a companion. Dogs can be the best companion for them at this time. During this difficult situation, this four-footed best friend supports them and gives unconditional love. Though in the naked eye we think we look after the dogs, researchers say actually dogs take care of us.
10. Dog makes you more approachable and social in life
Have you seen anyone who has a dog with him, talking with new people, neighbors, or new friends? Do they feel more comfortable and less hesitant while talking? Actually having a dog with yourself makes you more approachable to others and provides you a conversation starter.
After a study, some researchers of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University stated that those who have a strong bonding and connection with pets feel more connected to relationships with other people and their communities. Dogs are a suitable way for icebreaking and getting to know strangers by which they can make a relationship. In another study, researchers have found that about 40 percent of the owners of dogs feel comfort and ease while forming new friendships. A Harvard study in several major cities found that pet owners are 60% more likely to get to know people by their neighbors than others.
11. Dog reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Numbers of studies explain that your pet can help in decreasing blood pressure. In one exploration it is found that people who suffer from hypertension experienced a significant reduction in blood pressure within 5 months after bringing a shelter dog into the house. In addition, some claim that dogs may offer a positive impact on cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A large study shows some correlation between dog ownership and lower levels of these blood lipids were found. But it should be mentioned that the results were not at all conclusive. So further research is required to get solid proof.
12. Dog makes you feel happy
Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone” or “love hormone” is a substance that increases our sense of bonding and well-being. A study in Japan in 2009 found that looking into dogs’ eyes actually influences the release of oxytocin. As a result, you feel jollier.
Researchers did another research mainly on seniors and found that people who are over 60, live alone, and have at least a dog were 4 times less likely to become depressed compared to those who did not possess any dog. In another study in 2007, it was discovered that if People with AIDS have a dog, they are less likely to suffer from depression. According to a study, spending quality time with a dog can increase the levels of the mood-boosting hormone, named dopamine.
13. Dog helps to grow old gracefully
Elderly people have been benefited from dogs in many ways. A great amount of data explains that dogs can be really beneficial to the elderly such as encouraging exercise, providing companionship, increasing social interaction, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, offering protection, and so on.
Patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s feel a little relieved after getting dog therapy. Dog owners experienced a decrease in the effects of dementia, loneliness, irritability, depression, and anxiety. Some researchers have even claimed to find that dogs are able to sniff out Alzheimer’s disease in urine samples. Dogs help people to remove their loneliness in old age. They can be their perfect companion. In addition, people with dementia can be tracked easily with the Tractive GPS dog tracker.
14. Dog makes you feel safe and secured
From the ancient era, dogs have been used as an effective home security system. Various kinds of guard dogs have been developed in the modern era to protect the house and other important buildings. No matter wherever you go you will find people using dogs for security reasons.
Many studies have shown that barking dogs can deter burglars. Some breeds have a tremendous sense of hearing to detect any miscreant. So when they feel something fishy they bark loudly and alert the owner. Dogs are one of the most loyal pets. So when they see their masters are in danger, they defend their masters with all their might. So keeping a dog will keep you not only physically safe but also make you relieved and secured mentally.
15. Dog reduces risk of allergies of kids
One common problem that children face is allergy. Some researchers claim that if children are grown up around a dog, they tend to have fewer allergies. Even they claim that living along with a dog at home can help children raised up to have a better immunity system to pet allergies in the later part of life.
In two studies in 2017, the researchers said that if you have a dog in your home before the birth of children and while they grow up, it might give them protection from developing asthma and eczema symptoms. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2004 explains that dogs and cats actually reduce up to 30 percent of a child’s chance of becoming allergic to pets.
16. Dog can assist you to cope up with any crisis
The crisis comes at us all of a sudden and exhausts us both physically and mentally. At that particular time, everyone needs support to get back on to the track. In the meantime, your pet dog can help you to recover from a crisis psychologically. Some researchers of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine had a study and found that those military veterans with PTSD who had service dogs with themselves not only did much better both physiologically and psychologically but also veterans along with service dogs had a much lower number of symptoms of PTSD and showed developed coping skills.
17. Dog gives us purpose and meaning of life
For a long time, dogs have been called man’s best friend and certainly, there are some purposes behind saying this. They are not only our pet or companion but also regarded as our family members. They give meaning to our lives by assisting us by doing some things such as being responsible, experiencing unconditional love, improving healthy daily routines, enjoying companionship and belonging, regulating our physical and psychological health, and many more. As we grow old, we retire from our jobs and cannot find any purpose to do anything. But dogs can motivate us.
According to Kristi Littrell, Adoption Manager at Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, “They force people to continue to do things. So, even if you’re not feeling well emotionally or physically, the dog doesn’t care. I mean, they care, but they still want you to feed them and take them for a walk.” Kay Joubert, Director Companion Animal Services at PAWS, a Washington-based animal advocacy organization stated that dogs actually assist us to not just concentrate on our needs. Dogs actually provide us a certain purpose to get up from bed in the morning and that is the owner has to wake up from the bed in order to take care of his pet.
18. Dog might reduce your doctor visits
It might seem a little weird, but it is claimed that if you are over 65 years and have a pet, you might need to visit your doctor 30 percent less compared to people who do have any pet. According to a study which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology states that on Medicare report, the elders who possessed at least a pet had reported having less amount of doctor visits over almost 1 year time compared to those who did not possess any pet. It added that particularly the master of the dogs was buffered from the influence of tense moments and incidents in life on physician utilization.
19. Dogs are used in diseases and for disable person
It is believed that dogs can be used for many medical purposes such as detecting, curing, etc. Some dogs have been trained to sniff out skin, kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer and people have reported that the spot in the body which dog sniffs, licks, or nudges have been detected as cancerous later. It is claimed that Alzheimer’s patients are soothed by dogs and companionship can reduce the emotional flare-ups and aggression. There are some dog breeds that are used as guide dogs for blind people to walk and some are used as hearing dogs for deaf people.
20. Dog keeps you calm
Have you ever felt relaxed and calm when you play the game of fetching with your pet dog or just running your fingers through? These are not just your imagination; there are scientific reasons behind them. Some studies explain that these interactions actually influence our body to enhance the level of dopamine and serotonin in the blood.
These two hormones are responsible for making us relax and stay calm. If you have issues with anxiety or ADHD, you can own a dog. Regular activities with your dog such as walking, grooming, or feeding may help you to get some relief as well as it will release the excess energy as it assists you to concentrate later in the day as high energy levels are related to ADHD. Your dog will never mind that extra energy and surely will not criticize you.
Finally, Dog makes you love yourself
Your dog can make you feel better about yourself. It is found that dog owners experience numerous improved psychological states which can help them to stay easy and prevent anxiety such as better self-esteem, less fearfulness, and greater social support. Researchers found the ability of the pets to support and reduce the negativity caused by social rejection. Your dog can learn to say when you are feeling anxious or paranoid and especially people who are facing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, or other psychiatric issues. A study in 2018 stated that dogs assist people to recover from psychological trauma.