Benefits of Having a Dog (According to Science)

Unquestionably, there are too many benefits of having a dog in your life. How often have we heard the words that dogs are a man’s best friend? It is not a cliché – their loyalty is for life and their love unconditional. 

You may have had an awful day, a stressful day, and you may be completely wiped out and exhausted. Nothing can pick you up or faster than your dog as soon as you step into your home.  Your dog does not even need to be up to his or her usual antics. Just the mere presence and the love shining out from the eyes will suffice. All you need to do is put out your hand and your dog will run to you, tongue out and tail wagging! What more can you ask for?

Hearing about such abiding love from all of your friends and family that have a dog, you might be considering adopting a dog. After all, who doesn’t want such a beautiful feeling to come home to? However, adopting a dog needs serious consideration. Are you ready for the commitment? Make no mistake; adopting a dog means 100% commitment. No dog deserves a careless decision that you might later regret. 

What do you need to know and understand about adopting a dog? You certainly need to evaluate your lifestyle and consider the pros and cons of having a dog. Because your lifestyle will certainly change at least a little if not totally! 

Make a Change! Put a Smile!

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What are the benefits of having a dog?

Companionship: Why are dogs such good companions? The answer is pretty simple. They take away feelings of loneliness. Dogs themselves love company and can and will listen to tirelessly. You would never have to worry about being judged for all that you say to your dog! You will never come into an empty home. You will not have to go on solitary walks because they will be eager and willing to walk by your side. 

Health benefits of having a dog: One major improvement will be to your blood pressure. Are you stressing out over something? Pet your dog, and you will feel calmer. Dogs are known to bring your blood pressure levels down not just by being ready to receive your love and responding in kind. They need you to take them out for walks and they need the exercise. It’s your responsibility to make sure your dog gets the exercise. You will simply have no choice but to go along. Needless to say, this means that you are getting your daily dose of exercise, too!

Some of the advantages of having a dog:

  • Dogs have a strong capacity for detecting cancer and low blood sugar levels; and they can be trained for it.
  • Dogs can help you during seizures. They can be trained to become seizure dogs. These dogs will learn to sense and identify changes in the body however subtle it may be. 
  • Dogs can help you navigate if you have vision problems. They become seeing-eye dogs and are trained to help you go through life as smoothly as it’s possible for a vision impaired person.

All of the above being said, the greatest advantage to having a dog in your life is the mental well-being that comes with it. A dog in your life can remove all sense of isolation or loneliness. It can bring a sense of responsibility. Your dog can teach you the value of commitment and caring for another being. Having a dog can give you a feeling of family and connectedness that is unparalleled. 

Why are dogs a man’s best friend?

Dogs can be the most supportive and most forgiving of friends. They do not hold a grudge if you make a few mistakes, or trip over them; or miss a walk. They are endlessly patient and stand by you, always. If you are good to them, they are your friends for life. Being good to them is easy; love and commitment is all it takes! What’s more, dogs take their job seriously; they will have your back and chase away strangers or anything they perceive as a threat. Dogs are known to better understand your emotional needs and in fact, will provide the warmest body to cuddle through your toughest times. The best part of it all is that they offer the greatest company, ever. 

 Can you think of a better company on a road trip? 

Check out our article on how to go on a road trip with your dog here-

Are you ready to adopt a dog now? Are you convinced that dogs make good pets, or even great pets?

Adopting a dog: Frequently asked questions

What is a good age to adopt a dog?

This largely depends on you. If you are capable of handling a puppy through the training years and if your family members are all willing to make the same commitment, a puppy that is at least 8 weeks old may work. Remember that at this stage the puppy will require potty training! You could also consider adopting a dog that is between 2 and 4 years old. This is when they are at their peak physically and will have a lot of energy. Again, consider the circumstances you are in and the ability to give your dog the required exercise. By this time, they have developed a personality of their own and it is discernible. 

How should I prepare my home for a dog?

Before you are ready to bring your dog home, make sure that you have collected all the supplies that your dog is likely to need. A vet will be able to give you clear instructions of a dog’s needs. Make sure all members of the family are in agreement as to the ground rules and plan well in advance on doggy care. If you are bringing a puppy home, prepare yourselves for a few accidents until they are potty trained. This will require a huge commitment of time as their bladders are still very small and they will need to be taken out to a designated area each time. When you prepare your home, prepare yourselves also mentally for the adjustment that will be needed on both sides. Remember that your dog is coming into a new environment and be loving and patient.

How to tell if my dog is happy?

This is very easy! Your dog will prance around in joy with the tail raised and wagging. Their body language is a clear sign when they are looking relaxed and playful. Their ears appear floppy instead of being upright or flattened against their heads. A happy dog tends to lean in showing that your company and attention are welcome and even desired.

Training your adopted dog

  • One of the most important things to remember is that your newly adopted dog needs the time to acclimate to the new environment. You will want the dog to socialize with ease. Adopted dogs that are older will have had some training already and may adjust more easily in  a new home. 
  • Make sure your dog feels safe and comfortable. Consistent behaviour on your part is essential. Set clear boundaries and stick to them every single time your dog pushes against it. Give your dog time to get used to the new house rules. 
  • Establish routine. Your dog will depend on it especially when you have adopted a dog from a shelter. You are trying to give your dog a new life and a new routine. It may take time. But, it is well worth it.

Read more about how to train your dog here.

How will getting a dog transform your life?

Every dog owner will tell you stories of such amazing transformation in their lives. Be it a child or an adult, you will hear of the benefits of having a dog in great detail. What you will find is the greatest joy in having a dog in your life; the unconditional acceptance of you; a friend for life by your side; and a whole lot of life lessons such as responsibility, commitment, loyalty, and trust!

Do you find this information useful? For more general advice, visit the VOSD website.