Everyone knows that owning a dog makes you happy. When you’re out with your dog, you’re instantly the life of the party. It can seem like everyone wants to say hello and give your pooch some love. Owning a dog means being more active, being more safe, and giving (not to mention receiving) more love. But what exactly is it about becoming a pet owner that can improve and bring so much joy into our lives? Here are the top three reasons.
Owning a Dog Keeps You Healthy
Winter is coming. Depending on where you live, it might already feel like winter is here. Getting out in the summer is as easy as grabbing a beach towel and a good book, and BAM! you’re outside. But winter is a different story. We hibernate. We hide from the weather, and become more sedentary. When you own a dog, you have no choice other than to be more active.
In fact, dog owners on average walk for an extra 22 minutes per day than those that do not own a dog. Having a dog forces you to exercise. Whether it’s cold and snowing or the sun is shining all day long, your dog still needs to go outside and so do you. Dog owners are significantly more active than non-dog owners and therefore tend to be more healthy.
Owning a Dog Improves Your Mood
All of us could use an extra dose of oxytocin throughout the day. The same hormone that’s released when we’re on a great first date, having sex, or eating chocolate is also released when we spend time with our pups. Oxytocin has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and to produce feelings of peace and love. And it’s not just a one way street. Studies have shown that staring into your dog’s eyes increases oxytocin levels in them. So the next time your pup is staring sweetly into your eyes, you’ll know that it really is love.
Owning a Dog Keeps You Safe
Your dog is likely a lot of things to you. They can be your alarm clock, your early warning system, or a source of motivation. Dogs also have a primal urge to keep us safe. Any dog owner will tell you that their dog is loyal and protective. This instinct has been bred into them through thousands of years of interactions with humans. Depending on who you ask, dogs became domesticated between 15,000 to 30,000 years ago.
It has always been a reciprocal relationship. We provided them with food and shelter, and in return, dogs provided us with protection and companionship. From the mundane, and sometimes irritating, example of your dog barking when the doorbell rings to the more extreme example of dogs waking their owners to alert them to a fire, dogs protect us.
Owning a dog means bonding with a dog. It’s a relationship, like any, where we give love and we receive it. You feed your dog, walk your dog, and take care of your dog. In return, your dog gives you love, keeps you healthy and keeps you safe. It doesn’t get much better than that. So the next time it’s raining and Fido needs to go for a walk, don’t lose your cool. Simply look your dog in the eye and say thank you–and maybe give them a treat.