When a dog is part of your life you tend not to think deeply about the benefits of having a canine companion in your household. But on those bad days, when your pooch has perhaps done something naughty, or you are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of dog ownership, there are many considerations to keep in mind. Hundreds of studies have shown that there are significant health benefits of owning a dog. Meaning everyone in your home should feel those health benefits.
Dogs provide unconditional, uncritical love. They don’t care if you have done something that you regret, if you are rich or poor, if you live in a mansion or an apartment. They are always happy to see you come through the door, and knowing that your dog is there to welcome you every time you come home offers undeniable emotional comfort.
Mental and physical fitness
The large majority of dogs require exercise of one sort or another, regardless of age or size. Taking your dog for a walk means you get some fresh air and exercise as well, which will increase your physical fitness. Going for a walk will also reconnect you to the natural world, which is healing in itself.
Lower stress levels
It has been suggested that the simple act of petting a dog can lower blood pressure and anxiety levels. Certified therapy dogs can be seen anywhere there are high stress situations these days – on university campuses during exam days, in airports – even in hospitals. The calm and loving influence of dogs is undeniable, and just a few quiet moments spent with your canine pal can wash away the cares of the day.
Meaning and purpose
Owning a dog means you need to establish some sort of routine in your everyday life. Exercise, feeding and other canine needs have to be accommodated on a daily basis. Having a routine in your daily life helps keep you grounded, no matter what else may be going on, and there is a certain emotional comfort in that aspect of dog ownership.
While many dog owners think of grooming as a chore, there is a degree of physical and mental stimulation for both you and your pooch when it comes to this activity. Grooming your dog helps build the bond between you as well as helping to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Regular sessions to prevent matting, check for ticks and other parasites and ensure that there are no lesions, lumps or bumps on your pet will give you more time together.
And there is little more rewarding than taking a dog who is a dirty, tangled mess, combing him out and sprucing him up. He will feel better, and so will you – instant gratification is good for the soul!
Benefits for children
Children who grow up with pets often have a tendency to develop strong immune systems and can be less likely to develop allergy issues. Growing up with a dog can also teach a child about responsibility, boundaries and respect.
Most dog owners are well aware of the comfort and emotional support that their buddy can bring to their lives – that is generally the biggest reason for introducing a dog in to your home. But as more and more health benefits of dog companionship are realized and documented it becomes increasingly easy to justify adding a dog to your family. It’s a good thing, for everyone involved.
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