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4 great benefits of having a dog in your life

February 13, 2020

There are so many great reasons to share our lives with a dog. From being faithful companions and boosting our health and wellbeing to showering us with unconditional love. Here’s four great benefits of having a dog in your life.

Companionship

“He is so happy to see us he u-bends. Even if we’ve just popped upstairs for 2 minutes!”

Dogs are described as man’s best friend for a very good reason. Studies have found that people can feel closer to our dogs than friends, families and partners. When we have to say goodbye to a four-legged companion, the emotions can be just as deep, if not deeper, than when we grieve for a human family member or friend. 

Such are the companionship benefits of dogs, there’s a growing number of owners signing up their dogs to volunteer with Pets as Therapy. They give their time visiting hospices, hospitals and care homes, offering hugs and wags to help brighten up the lives of patients and the elderly.

Exercise

“I definitely spend more time outdoors than I used to.” 

The NHS recommends that to stay healthy you should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of high intensity activity every week. The recommended amount of moderate intensity activity equates to just 20 minutes a day, 7 days a week. This is easily achieved by walking the dog. Whilst the exercise needs of dogs depends on their age, breed and health, getting some daily exercise will be beneficial to most dogs. And it’s good for you too. 

Wearing a fitness tracker*, such as a FitBit, can help you monitor how much daily exercise you are getting. You can now also get a version for your dog. A PitPat* is worn on your dog’s collar and linked to an app on your phone. The app is available from the Apple and Google stores. 

Buy a PitPat from Amazon

Dogs are also becoming a familiar sight at running events such as Park Run. Well-behaved dogs are allowed to join in with the 5k for grown-ups (but not juniors) at most of the Park Run locations.

Jogging or running with a dog is not recommended for dogs until they have finished growing. This will vary from breed to breed.  Your dog’s ability to run will also depend on their breed and health. Therefore, if you like the idea of having your dog as your running companion, it’s a good idea to check in with your vet first. 

Health & wellbeing

“The smile he puts on our faces whenever he greets us.”

As well as the physical benefits of having a dog, science has found they can boost mental health too. 

A dog is a great excuse for getting outdoors for a good walk to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits associated with being in nature. Having a family dog is also a great way to encourage children to step away from their screens and spend time exploring the great outdoors. Exposure to nature has been found to have enormous benefits for child development. It stimulates them intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.  

Dogs are also great for the workplace too. Businesses are increasingly recognising the stress-busting benefits of dogs. Employees with access to dogs report feeling less stressed than those who do not. In response, a growing number of businesses have introduced dog-friendly policies so that dog owners can bring their dogs to work

Unconditional love

“My gorgeous Miss Darcy brings me and hubby so much joy, unconditional love.”

Without a doubt, first and foremost, the number one thing that dog owners love most about sharing their lives with a canine companion is that their love is unconditional. From the moment you wake up and are greeted by your dog’s happy face and a wagging tail, your day is instantly filled with love. 

Dogs give us so much in terms of love and support. They can sense when you’re feeling down and know just how to give the paw-fect cuddle. In fact they are the best pick-me-up to brighten up any dull day. Life really is better with dogs.

What next? 

The quotes were provided by members of our community when asked the question ‘What do you love most about having a dog in your life?’

Main image photo credit: iStock