Dog with Lady

The Benefits of Adopting a Dog

Posted by Nikki Wardle on December 6, 2022 at 9:00 AM
Nikki Wardle
Find me on:

19th-century American humorist Josh Billings said, "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself." The logic behind this statement is evident to dog owners: Canines are loyal, dependable, and loving — truly the best kind of best friend. 

According to research, dogs can be more than simply a pet. The evidence proving the physical benefits of living with a canine, such as decreased blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health, has been well-documented over the past few decades.

Adding to the benefits of canine companionship, research shows more ways dogs can provide emotional support, a sense of calm, and relief from psychological stresses.

Mental, Emotional, and Physical Benefits of Dog Companionship 

  • Depression: Research shows that among the benefits of dog ownership is a sense of companionship and social support that can lead to decreased loneliness. "There is a bond and companionship that makes a big difference in mental health," states Gary Christenson, chief medical officer at Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota. 
    Studies show that, overall, pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression. This is attributed to the calming presence of pets and getting people to focus their time and effort on something outside themselves. 
  • Pets, and especially dogs, have a fantastic ability to hone in on our emotional state and offer support. That is why dogs are so important for military veterans, people living with PTSD, and people who have suffered brain injuries. 
  • Stress at work is part of all our daily lives. Some stress is okay, but an overabundance of it can affect you physically and mentally. Studies show the psychological benefits of having a cuddly canine come to work. And more companies such as Mars, Etsy, Amazon, and Intermountain Pet Hospital offer a dog-friendly environment to reduce employee stress. Even universities are starting in on the casual canine counseling trends. The University of British Columbia brought in therapy dogs, allowing students to pet and cuddle during drop-in sessions.
  • Dogs make us go outside. No matter how big or small, every dog wants to go for a walk, which is great for everyone involved. But having a dog also motivates us to get into green spaces — a walk in the park, along a beach, or into the woods. And thanks to these leash pullers, the lure into nature is bringing us significant benefits. Research has shown that stepping out into mother nature has positive effects by offering stress relief, boosting your mood, increasing social interaction, encouraging physical activity, and enhancing your creativity. Even in an urban setting, a walk outside will boost your mental health.
  • Dogs help us socialize. Whether it's going out for a walk or taking Fido to the dog park, these outings are great opportunities for striking up a conversation with other dog owners who are out and about. So, next time you're out walking and not feeling hurried, enjoy some banter with another dog owner. Even a smile from one dog lover to another can go a long way.

Spending time with dogs can motivate us to follow their example. Try taking a cue from your dog, and as you go about your day, take a moment to bring your attention to the sensations in your body. Take a few deep breaths and notice how that makes you feel. Engage your senses, and savor what is happening around you. Then thank your dog for setting a good example.

Topics: Pet Care