For the Love of Pets: How Dogs Can Change Your Life For the Better
For current dog owners, you already know the joys (and sometimes pains) of raising a dog. Being a dog owner can be a lot of fun, but this responsibility also requires commitment because the wellness of your pet depends on your efforts.
For those who don’t own a dog, you will soon find out just how much having one will improve your life in many different ways. There really aren’t too many things in life that bring you as much joy as having a dog. Sure, there’s chocolate, cookies, and milkshakes but the only love those things give back is solely directed towards your stomach, hips, and inner thighs… a dog’s love for you lasts forever.
One of the reasons why people don’t have dogs is because they say that having a dog is too much responsibility. Well, having a dog is definitely a responsibility, especially if you’re going to be a “good” dog owner. A “good” dog owner means that you don’t just have a dog because he’s cute. Being a good dog owner means you’re taking the dog to the vet, getting him properly groomed, and taking him out on walks. This responsibility will also require you to look into your pet’s diet, such as deciding whether you should give them kibble or raw dog food.
In return for taking care of them, you’ll get unconditional love and devotion… and that’s something people can’t get out of other people. As long as cared for and trained properly, dogs can certainly become your best friends as you can do countless activities with them.
Dogs Force You to Physically Get Into Better Shape
As you know, all dogs need exercise, ranging from 30 minutes to two hours per day, depending on the dog’s age as well as their size. In fact, walking your dog regularly is one of the most important responsibilities you’ll have when you decide to adopt a pet. Walking your dog can improve their body and weight condition, joint health, and urinary health. Walking is also a great way to tire out your dogs, especially younger ones, and prevent them from developing aggression. But, walking or running with your dog is not only good for them but it’s also good for the owner too.
Maybe you’ve been meaning to get in the gym but haven’t had the time or energy to do so… if you have a dog, he can be your workout partner. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that incorporating at least 30 minutes of walking per day can help reduce health problems such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and depression.
Aside from these, walking with your dog regularly can also help you reduce stress and manage your weight. And, most importantly, taking walks together can help the two of you bond with each other.
Think about it… You have to walk them and take them outside to go to the bathroom anyway, so why not make the most of it!
You Get to Meet New Friends
Just as you have with children and play dates, you will find yourself embarking on a new social journey as well when you become a dog owner. Having a dog opens the door to you meeting all kinds of new people. If you take your dog out for a walk in your neighborhood or in a park, you’ll begin to see how much friendlier people are towards you.
Other dog owners will smile and nod at you and even spark up conversations with you about the breed of your dog. You’ll then find yourself exchanging contact information with fellow dog owners and setting up “doggie play dates!” This usually happens if you live in a neighborhood that’s full of dog lovers and owners.
The only thing to be careful of with doggie play dates is the safety aspect. A lot of times doggie play dates take place in dog parks. For the protection of yourself and your dog, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings at all times because dog parks run the high risk for potential dog bites… it doesn’t happen too often but those types of injuries do happen so it’s best to prepare just in case… oh, the joys of being a dog parent are endless…
It’s also important to pay attention to the body language of your dog when taking them to play dates. Dogs are naturally playful, but there are times when their playfulness can turn into aggression. As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to determine when you should remove your dog from the pack.
Moreover, make sure that your dog takes water breaks during playdates. Bring your dog’s bowl and fill it up with clean water every hour or so. Your dog uses a lot of energy when they play with other dogs, and letting them drink water will ensure that their body continues to function properly and they won’t experience fatigue.
They Become Part of the Family and Make You Happy
You’ve found yourself going on family trips and bringing your dog with you now. Hiking, swimming in the ocean, and backpacking are all things that you enjoy doing but you now realize those things are more fun when traveling with your dog!
For dog owners that travel as a means to clear their heads, dogs accompanying them on those types of trips have added capabilities to reduce anxiety and depression in certain individuals. Having a dog has been known to positively affect your endocrine response, boosting the production of those feel-good hormones we all know and love: cortisol and epinephrine
Dogs Teach Responsibility and Empathy
We spoke earlier about how people say they won’t get a dog because they come with too much responsibility, well that is definitely true; dogs do come with a lot of responsibility. With that responsibility, did you happen to stop and think about what else dogs come with?
Owning a dog not only teaches you responsibility but it also teaches you to be considerate of the needs of other living beings. The Washington Post has an article talking about how owning a dog teaches empathy and it’s more prominent and beneficial for children. Teaching children at a young age to care for their dog teaches children responsibility.
Being that dogs can’t talk, it forces their pet parents and family members to figure out their nonverbal cues to communicate.