Just in time for International Dog Day (which is August 26th, if you haven’t marked your calendar yet), I think it’s time we sit down and have a talk about our favourite furry friend. Do they really get enough appreciation? And have we obsessed over the cute way their legs move when they walk down the sidewalk? If you ask them, they’d probably say that it’s not enough. Today I share the top reasons why dogs make your life better.
Dogs are some of our best companions. Whatever you have going on in your life, or whatever you’re facing, your dog is ready to be there by your side. When it’s time to cry on the floor, they’ve got sloppy kisses and rope to tug. If it’s time to go for a ride, they’ve got a tongue to flap in the breeze from the passenger seat. When it’s time to cut the grass, they’re ready to roll in all the fresh blades. They’ve got your back.
Personally, I can’t imagine life without my pup. Beau is the kind of dog you dream about having as a kid: always down for adventure, always down for a nap, and always down for a belly-rub. Just the little sound of his feet following me around sparks joy throughout my day.
Reasons why Dogs Are Awesome
Besides your mutual, undying love, there’s plenty of scientifically documented ways that our pups enhance our lives. Not that anybody’s surprised, right? But just so you know my case for dogs making your life the best it can be is airtight, here’s a few reasons why.
1. Pups are Great for the Heart
I’m not just talking about the warm’n’fuzzy (literally) feelings you get when your dog curls up next to you on the couch. Studies have shown that the simple act of petting your dog, or talking to them, is usually accompanied by lower blood pressure – especially when compared with the blood pressure of talking to humans.
Which makes sense, since dogs are better than people. Basically, interacting with your dog makes you less tense and stressed. In this modern world, we need all of that we can get.
2. You’ll be More Active
This one is kind of obvious, although of course the amount varies from pup to pup. Dogs need to move! And you’re going to be the one to move them.
Some dogs need a well-rounded three walks a day, especially if you live in a smaller place. That’s three times a day you’re tying your shoes and getting out there, too. Either walking, swimming, running, or just throwing the ball around the yard – they’re all a great way to get moving and build a bond with your furbaby.
3. You’ll get High Everyday
Naturally, of course! You ever stared into your dog’s eyes and just felt overwhelming joy and love? Same. The reason you feel that rush is a release of oxytocin – basically our brain telling us “good boy!” and giving us a treat. When you’ve got a dog in your life, you’re getting high for free every day of the week.
Well, almost free. Just the cost dog food. And treats. And toys.
4. Wealthy with Toe Beans
That’s at least 16 good reasons to have a pup in your life. They are beauty, they are grace, and they cannot be replaced.
5. Dogs are Magic Healers
It goes without saying that dogs make you feel better just by being there. But did you know they can physically heal you too?
We can see it in emotional support animals, who stand by their owners and exhibit certain behaviors to help them cope with a difficult situation. And veterans with PTSD have seen the benefits of having a dog as they go through treatment and recovery.
Studies also show that those who have a pup by their side are quicker to heal from illness like the flu. So if you’re feeling a little under the weather, just know that your pup is working overtime to get you back to your regular walking schedule. There are so many reasons why dogs are so good for us!
6. But they Also Keep you from Getting Sick
Just like us, and all animals, dogs are crawling with germs, dirt, general bacteria…I love Beau but he’s not the best-smelling thing on earth. However, when our bodies are constantly exposed to germs, it kicks up our immune system, making it stronger and stronger.
In fact, kids who grow up around pups are less likely to get sick overall. They’re also less likely to develop allergies, or eczema…basically, dogs are the one health supplement you shouldn’t dare to go without.
7. People with Dogs are Hotter
Naturally, having a cute piece of arm candy will elevate your looks – you might even be able to siphon that cuteness and absorb it within. But what we’re really talking about here is that people who have dogs are perceived as more attractive, and definitely more approachable.
Maybe it has something to do with the pure, innocent love radiating towards you? Let’s hope it’s not just because they want to come over and rub that belly.
But think about it! If someone selflessly cares for their pup, they’re probably not that empty and cold of a person. And you know they’re naturally high all the time, so they must be in a pretty good mood. This could be one of the reasons why dogs can be found on so many online dating profiles.
8. Dogs will Make you Feel More Connected
In one way or another, your dog is going to lead you to human interaction – because they love it, too! While out walking, you’ll come across other dogs and people who would love to meet. When you start to pass each other every morning, there’s no way you won’t become friends after a while.
If your pup is a dog park kind of pup, you’ll have to stand around and talk with other puppy parents while you supervise the fun.
Families often also bond around their pup. Caring becomes a team job, with someone in charge of feeding, another in charge of grooming, and someone to play with. And naturally, that dog is going to be happiest when all members of the team show up and work together! I love all the reasons why dogs make us better people.
The open energy dogs have is also an inspiration to be more social. If they’re happy to sniff anyone who passes, the least you can do is smile!
9. You’ll Learn to Care
If you’ve always been focused on yourself and your needs, one surefire way to change that up is by bringing a dog into your life. Having a (maybe) small bundle of joy who loves you fiercely, but is also dependent on you, will change the way you live. You now have someone else to consider when making decisions. Another being whose needs you might just have to put before your own.
But you know what? You might just love it! Bringing a pup into your home can also be a great teaching opportunity for your kids. They’ll learn about responsibility, about considering the needs of another being, and maybe even the feeling of unconditional love.
10. They’re Ready to Work Hard
I’m pretty sure the way we ended up loving these furry friends was a story that started with labor long before love. Dogs used to work hard for us – and some still do! Fetching kill on a hunting trip, herding animals, pulling sleds…the list goes on.
Plenty of pups out there probably still do this, but the types of jobs dogs do is even more broad and specialized now. Some dogs sniff out cancer, while others can sniff out foods their owner is allergic to. Even others can tell when your blood sugar is low, if you’re a diabetic.
There’s more official working dogs, too – like seeing-eye dogs, police K9s, and drug-sniffing dogs. All a bunch of puppers just doing what they can to make the world a better place. Give these dogs a raise!!
11. They’re Fun
Most dogs, unless they’re getting up there in age, are always down to play when you are. And sometimes when you’re not, but… let’s focus on the positive here. Pick up a rope or a ball, and most dogs are happy to jump off the couch and get rowdy with you. Shoot, they’re even into a game of chase – no toys needed. Now that’s the original party animal.
I’d love to sit and write out a whole novel on all the way our lives are enhanced by our four-legged family members, but honestly? All of this just has me wanting to go show a little extra appreciation to my own pup. Hopefully you’ll do the same – or maybe make a trip to the shelter if you haven’t got one to fawn over.
Can you think of any other reasons why dogs make your life better?
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Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.