Almost 40% of households in the United States own at least 1 pet dog, making dogs the most common choice of pet by far. And dogs are man’s best friend for a reason! Their friendly personalities and unconditional love and devotion make them the perfect companion.

But there’s even more than meets the eye when it comes to dog ownership. For example, did you know that there are science-backed benefits to owning a dog?

It’s true. Adopting a dog isn’t just a great way to add a new family member to your home, it comes with a wealth of benefits that affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Read on to discover some of the most impressive benefits of dog adoption.

1. Dogs Relieve Stress

We all experience stress in our day-to-day lives, and while some stress is both normal and unavoidable, chronic anxiety is all too common. When you go through life under a constant high level of stress and anxiety, you increase your risk of heart attack, insomnia, and high blood pressure.

Thankfully, this is one of the most powerful benefits of dog ownership. Because even just petting a dog brings relief from anxiety and the symptoms associated with it.

Spending time with your loyal companion can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, as well as bring your breathing rate down to a healthy level. This is because it dramatically reduces the amount of cortisol in your bloodstream, a hormone produced by stress.

2. Dogs Keep You Active

The CDC and other health organizations recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. But how many of us reach this goal? Do you?

Owning a dog means frequent walks and playtime, increasing the opportunity for physical activity.

The gym isn’t for everyone, and with a dog, you won’t have to worry about daily trips to the fitness center. You’ll get plenty of activity simply by spending quality time with your best friend!

3. Dogs Improve Your Heart Health

Speaking of physical health, dog ownership can also make drastic improvements to your heart health. Because the bond between you and your dog does such a fantastic job of reducing stress, it reduces the amount of stress your heart is under as well.

Even people who have experienced a previous coronary event, such as a heart attack, see a lower risk of recurrence and death when they have a dog in their life. The health of your heart is integral to your health overall, and you can protect it by having a dog.

4. Dogs Strengthen Cognitive Function

For many of us, with age comes a decline in cognitive function. However, this typically isn’t an unavoidable event. Things like studying a new language and spending time learning an instrument can slow or even prevent this decline.

And, you guessed it, among these preventive measures is dog ownership! Pet therapy is a useful tool in treating patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia and can help you to lower your risk of developing these diseases in the first place.

5. Dogs Soothe Loneliness 

Even those of us with a strong support system of family and friends feel lonely from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with some alone time, but frequent social isolation can cause a host of mental and physical ailments.

Though it won’t replace the need for human interaction entirely, adopting a dog can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

There are many options for pet adoption. You can visit your local shelter, seek out pet stores in your area, or find puppies available online. It doesn’t matter how you find your new best friend, the only thing that matters is choosing the right dog for you.

6. Dogs Make Us More Social

Along with providing us a built-in friend, dogs also help us to be more social with other humans. When you walk your dog, you’re likely to see other people walking, whether with their own dog or alone.

Having a dog with you will make you more approachable in addition to making a great conversation starter. Studies also show that people with a strong connection to their dog are able to develop connections with other people more easily.

Your connections with already established friends and family will strengthen as well as your ability to get to know people and build new friendships.  

7. Dogs Reduce the Risk of Depression

Depression is a serious problem in the United States and around the world. Millions of people are diagnosed with major depressive disorder and other types of depression every year.

If you struggle with depression, therapy and medication may still be necessary, but owning a dog can decrease your symptoms significantly. Dog owners who don’t already have depression are also less likely to develop it.

Quality time with your dog will make you feel more positive, shifting your outlook and improving your mental health as a whole in addition to reducing the effects of depression. 

Complete Your Family by Adopting a Pet Dog Today

As you can see, adopting a pet dog can improve your life in a variety of ways. Each benefit to having a dog is more convincing than the last!

So whether you’re in need of companionship, you feel that your family is incomplete, or you’re interested in teaching your children the rewards of responsibility and caring for others, you can’t go wrong with adopting a dog.

In need of more tips for choosing the perfect pet for you and your family? Take a look at our blog!