Dogs are incredible companions. They are loyal, they are loving, they are adorable, and, most of all, they help us keep a healthy and active lifestyle. Not only do they help us stay active, they provide key emotional and psychological support that can get people through the worst of times. Dogs have evolved to be our best friends, and if you don’t already have a dog, you need to get one.
Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
There are many ways that dogs help us in our everyday lives. They are support pillars and endless sources of joy. Specifically, owning and taking proper care of a dog can give you:
- Physical Benefits
Dogs need a lot of exercise to be healthy and happy. They also require this exercise daily. As such, you walking your furry friend in the morning before work actually means that you reach your daily requirement for exercise. This means that your blood pressure will decrease your chance of stroke, and you will also be able to manage your weight better. Walking your dog is a great way to get more daily exercise in your life, and to keep your furry friend happy.
- Emotional Benefits
Dogs have been bred, and they have evolved to understand and perceive our emotional and physical states. This is why they are so in tune with your emotions, and can seemingly give comfort when you’ve been upset. This quiet care and love does wonders to improve your emotional and mental state. Dogs can also help you manage anxiety, depression, and stress. One of the biggest factors for this is that we interact with our dogs through physical touch, which can be very soothing and reassuring.
- Social Benefits
Dog people love to talk about their dogs. This is an easy conversation starter that can increase your social life and can even help you make friends. For those who suffer from depression or anxiety, the responsibility of owning a dog and being responsible for their entire wellbeing can get them out of the house and interacting again. These social benefits also apply to children and seniors. Children learn to empathize with animals, which makes them more considerate and caring and seniors can find solace in the companionship.
Not everyone, however, should get a dog. You need to be responsible for getting a pet of any kind. You will be the sole caregiver for all their needs, after all, and if you cannot meet these responsibilities head-on, then you are only hurting your new friend. Instead, make sure that you are in a stable home, are in an area that you can exercise a dog in regularly, and have the finances saved. Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility, but that responsibility can help people who are combatting mental illness stay on track and live a healthy lifestyle.
Choosing the Dog for You
The dog that is right for you and your family depends on your experience with taking care of dogs, your lifestyle, and the size of your home:
- What is Your Neighborhood Like?
You don’t need to live in a mansion to own a large, active dog. What you do need, however, is public space like a park so that you can give your pet a place to run around and get the exercise he needs. If you live in the middle of the city, and the only parks available aren’t dog-friendly, then you should instead look at smaller breeds that will benefit from a walk around the city, but don’t need to be taken off the lease to burn off their energy.
- How Experienced Are You?
Some breeds are notoriously easy to parent. These are the calm, happy dogs that are perfect for first-time dog owners. Other breeds require an experienced hand to train them properly. Know yourself and know the behaviors, personality traits, and even the medical problems that are typical of the breeds that you look at.
Taking Care of Your Dog
To make your furry friend happy, you need to keep him healthy. It is this very responsibility that provides many key benefits to children, and to those who have a mental illness. Dogs are not like children – they cannot let themselves out to go to the bathroom, and they certainly can’t eat if all of their food is locked away in a cupboard. They are entirely dependent on you. That is why you need to know how to take care of your dog in advance. This applies to everything. Different dogs require different meals and meal sizes. You also need to worry about diseases and infestations. A lot of problems that come with dogs like flea and ticks, for instance, can be solved if you use Pet-Lock products in advance.
Training Your Dog
If you have never had a dog before, then you should sign up for puppy training classes. They teach you the basics and help you get your puppy behaved before their bad habits become permanent. The stricter you are with their training, the better behaved they will be when they are adults. A badly-behaved dog isn’t a bad dog, but it can be frustrating. The key is to be consistent. If you only get mad at them every time your dog does something you don’t like, he won’t realize what it is that made you mad.
The best part about owning a dog is that all you need to do is keep them healthy for them to be happy. They do so much for us, and require very little in return. A walk in the morning, a little playtime throughout the day, and food will keep them happy day in and day out. The routine that your dog needs, and will insist upon, will help you increase your fitness and health, it will make you more productive, more alert, and can even make you happier. Dogs are the companions that make our lives better all around.