As a dog owner, I can tell you 100% that owning a dog has SO many health benefits. Not only does owning a dog make you fitter, they are fantastic for your mental health and can reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
If you didn’t already know, I have a gorgeous Australian Labradoodle puppy called Lenny. Right now he is about 6 months old, and he is probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I’m a bit obsessed with him – my family will attest to this.
It isn’t all sunshine and roses (like that time Lenny ate my reading glasses!), but I know that becoming a dog owner is one of the best decisions I ever made.
I like to think of the health benefits of dog ownership as the cherry on the cake really. You get a cute dog that loves you unconditionally and as a bonus he helps you keep healthy!
But word to the wise – dog ownership is a HUGE decision. Do your research, and make sure you are only purchasing from a registered and accredited breeder or adopting from your local shelter.
Benefit 1: Dogs encourage you to exercise more
I can tell you for a fact that if I didn’t have my dog, I wouldn’t walk every single morning. I am a people pleaser by nature so I can never say no when I see Lenny bouncing around excitedly, ready for his walk.
Just seeing how happy Lenny is to go for a walk rubs off on me too. How could it not? When my little floof ball is skipping around just enjoying the fresh air, it makes me enjoy it too. I undoubtedly walk a lot further than I would otherwise because I know he loves it (and to be honest so do I)!
I struggle to get into an exercise habit on my own (I’ve written more about exercise habits here if you’re interested), but I really find that becomes a lot easier with Lenny. He makes me want to get up and take him outside for the pure love of it.
There are also consequences to not walking your dog: they can become destructive with pent up energy (see holes in our back garden) and they will not settle down and snooze with you. Sometimes having consequences to not doing something helps keep you motivated.
Benefit 2: Dogs provide you with unconditional love and affection
Your dog is ALWAYS happy to see you. When you come home from work or even when you wake up in the morning, your dog will always be waiting for you with licks, cuddles and a wagging tail.
Every single time I walk through the front door, Lenny is sitting there wagging his tail waiting for me. No matter if I’ve been gone for 5 minutes or 5 hours, no matter what mood I come home in, he is always there.
You are the world to your dog. You feed them, provide them with a warm place to sleep and you take them for walkies. Your dog will love you unconditionally – always!
Whenever you’re feeling a bit low, or if you’re feeling lonely, your dog will always be there with licks and cuddles to perk you up.
Benefit 3: Dogs improve your social life
Dogs can definitely help you increase your social life. Meeting people on the street who stop to pat your pup, or making friends at dog obedience class, your dog is great at introducing you to new people.
I know for me, it’s fantastic when I can take Lenny on walks with my friends. He absolutely loves going to cafes with us, and tries his best to lure pats out of anyone that walks by.
Instead of sitting on the couch on you bottom all night, your dog will get you up and out of the house and socialising.
Benefit 4: Reduces your risk of chronic disease
Dog ownership can reduce your risk of hundreds of different types of chronic disease.
Due to the increase in exercise, owning a dog can reduce your risk of heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. Your dog can also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety, by being a companion and friend for you who’s always there to listen.
Interestingly, studies have come out recently saying that children exposed to dogs when they are infants have reduced risk of developing asthma! What a winner!
Really, there are 1000s of reasons why you should get a dog, but when it comes to improving your health, dog ownership is a clear winner.
Do you have a dog? Send me a DM on Instagram with photos! I LOVE doggos! 🙂