The Benefits of Having a Dog

The benefits of having a dog

One of the most exciting things in life is to get a puppy. It is a magical time where you experience many firsts through your puppy’s eyes. You get to see them explore new things and how they try to make sense of this big world they’ve entered.

Not only do puppies give us joy and entertainment, but they also provide us with loyalty and friendship. It is probably one reason you’re considering getting a puppy (or you’ve done so already). As most dog owners will tell you: dogs provide a sense of companionship that doesn’t quite measure up to our other relationships. It is the type of loyalty and friendship that stands the test of time and improves the owner’s life, providing some surprising benefits along the way.

  1. Dogs Are Loyal to the Bone
    When thinking of a dog, the first word that comes to mind is LOYALTY. Dogs are known for their unconditional loyalty to their pack, which in this case is you and your family. Your dog will have a strong feeling of devotion, support, and alliance toward you without any ulterior motives. But why are dogs so loyal in the first place?
  2. It’s in a dog’s nature to be loyal.
    You might have heard that dogs are pack animals, but what does that mean? Dogs naturally thrive better when they move in a group that makes up their family or pack. In this pack setting, dogs rely on each other for survival and companionship. For instance, in the wild, some dogs may be better at protecting, while others may be better at scent work and seeking out potential food sources.
    Although your pet is domesticated, s/he still has the natural instinct that living in a pack is better for their survival. So, instead of relying on other dogs for survival, companionship, and sociability, your dog depends on you and your family.
    But what does this have to do with loyalty? Well, being in a pack means that each dog needs to be loyal to the rest for maximum chances of survival. If some pack members are not reliable, the pack’s survival will falter. So, a dog feels compelled to have a sense of allegiance and support to the pack. That’s the only way they know how to survive.
  3. Dogs have a shared history with people.
    Thousands of years ago, there weren’t any domesticated dogs on earth. It is only through the accidental domestication of some wolves that dogs came to exist as we know them today. That’s thanks to the shared history between wolves and people.
    As you can figure out, dogs are descended from wolves. Although there is no clear evidence on how domestication started, there are a few theories on the topic. The most popular theory is that people used to set up camp in the wild (keep in mind that housing consisted of tents, not the secure buildings we have today).
    As people prepared food, they had to put their scraps somewhere. This lured the wolves closer to the people’s tents. The closer the wolves got to the humans and the more they benefited from the people’s scraps, the more wolves chose to stick around humans as they travelled.
    For a few thousand years, some wolves grew loyal to people because they got food and sometimes even affection from some people. Scientists believe that this shared history between humans and wolves attributes to the deep form of loyalty our dogs have toward us today.
  4. Dogs are loyal to those who meet their needs.
    Like with any relationship, if you take care of one another, loyalty comes naturally. In your puppy’s case, it means that you provide them with everything s/he needs to live a comfortable life. If dogs feel safe and fulfilled in their environments, they will be devoted to the hand who made it possible.
    These needs are more than just providing food and shelter. It means creating a living environment where your dog feels totally safe. Here’s a list of needs every dog has, and if you meet all of them, your dog will be loyal forever:
    • A dog needs a safe place to sleep where s/he is protected from harsh weather conditions and has a peaceful night’s rest. The safer your dog feels at night, the better s/he will sleep, and the more trust s/he will put in you.
    • A dog needs a reliable food schedule, so s/he doesn’t feel the need to scavenge for food by her-/himself (greedy ones might still do this though LOL).
    • A dog needs enough physical and mental stimulation so that s/he won’t get bored. Some owners take this need for granted, but your dog needs daily stimulation. The less bored s/he is and the more attention you give, the better your bond will be, and thus the loyalty as well.
    • A dog needs a person who ensures the dog’s health is as good as possible. This includes preventative measures as well as noticing the smallest issue, like a cut on the paw. As a person who loves dogs, you will naturally tune in with your dog and notice if something is wrong.
    • A dog needs grooming according to their needs. Some dogs need more frequent grooming than others. But if these practices are neglected, dogs can get serious skin infections or painful mats.
    • A dog needs social interactions, whether with other people or dogs. They are social beings and thrive in social settings.

These are all the basic needs of each dog. If an owner doesn’t meet these needs, it can place unwanted stress on the dog and diminish the level of trust. Think about it. If a dog feels unsafe in the pack, it means the pack doesn’t have their back. In turn, it means that s/he doesn’t have to be loyal to someone who couldn’t ensure their survival.

5. Dogs may experience an emotion similar to how we experience love.
The benefits of having a dogStudies show that the part of a puppy’s brain similar to a person’s love centre lights up when s/he smells their human’s scent. These scientists examined the activity in dogs’ brains when they smelled different items like toys and food, etc. It was only when an item of clothing of the owner was presented to the dogs that the part associated with love lit up. So, scientists believe that dogs can feel a form of love, especially toward their owners.

We all know that love is a powerful emotion, and we would do anything for those we love. Similarly, dogs who love us will do anything to protect us or make us happy. That support and devotion is the epitome of loyalty.

Why Puppies Become Your Best Friend

Dogs provide a sense of companionship that starts forming when you bring your puppy home. There’s more to dogs than having another living being in the house. It also means that you get a best friend for as long as s/he lives. Having this canine friend in your corner means you’ll never be lonely. You’ll learn valuable lessons and benefit from each other’s company while stimulating the dog’s instincts. Let’s have a closer look at what this means:

  • Your dog is always there for you, no matter what: Like unconditional love and loyalty, your dog will always be there for you to provide comfort, companionship, and love. It is the type of friend you can always count on.
  • You and your dog learn from each other: Both dog and owner can learn many valuable lessons from each other. For instance, dogs learn how to act appropriately in the human world. On the other hand, people can learn the true meaning of unconditional love and how to protect a sentient being.
  • You and your dog have a mutually beneficial relationship: You already know that your dog benefits from meeting their needs, but you can benefit from a dog in your life. Some people experience less stress because of their dogs, and others feel less lonely (see the benefits of getting a puppy below).
  • It’s in your dog’s nature to befriend you, the caretaker: Becoming your friend goes hand in hand with your dog’s instinct to be in a pack. You are now your dog’s pack family and therefore get to experience the joy of canine friendship.

How Getting a Puppy Benefit Your Life

Most people don’t get puppies for the sake of getting one. They have reasons for adopting these pups. The most common reasons are that people seek unconditional companionship or they’d like to feel less lonely at home. Although these are the most common reasons, other benefits of getting a puppy might surprise you. These benefits are:

  • Research shows that puppies reduce people’s stress levels: Studies show that people with dogs experience lower stress levels than those without dogs. It’s probably because petting a dog releases the feel-good hormone (oxytocin) and decreases the stress hormone (cortisol).
  • Puppies provide protection (in the long run): Although your puppy can’t necessarily protect you against harm now, s/he will grow up with a strong urge to keep you safe as s/he grows up. It can be protecting you against harm or warning you of any potential dangers, etc.
  • Having a puppy makes you more active: It doesn’t matter which dog breed you get; they all need to be active to keep their physical health top-notch. Most dogs need to go for daily walks, so the more you walk your dog, the more active you become.
  • Research shows that people with dogs have better heart health: Studies show that people with dogs have lower blood pressure. That’s probably because stress is a massive contributor to heart conditions. So, because a dog can help lower your stress levels, s/he contributes to your heart health as well.
  • Having a puppy curbs loneliness: This one is quite obvious, but getting a dog will make you feel less lonely. Whether it’s the pup’s mere presence in an otherwise quiet home or their physical touch, it provides company.
  • Getting a puppy can make you more social: Let’s be honest; a puppy is a great conversation piece. Wherever you go, you can use your puppy as a buffer for conversation. Not only do you have something to talk about if things get awkward, but you’ll seem more approachable to other people, setting you up for social success. It’s interesting to note that studies proved people with dogs make friends easier than those without dogs.
  • Puppies can help people cope in crises: If you are prone to anxiety or other conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), then a puppy can help you manage when you have an episode. Usually, if these conditions are severe, you would get a service dog who is trained on how to react to an episode. But even people with mild cases of anxiety or everyday stressors will benefit from the calming effect dogs have.

Well, that is plenty of benefits for having these gorgeous creatures in our lives. However, it is important that you get a puppy that suits YOUR life. You have to think about the characteristics of the adult dog and not just the gorgeous puppy. There are also some very important questions to ask from the breeder or rescue centre to make sure that your chosen dog is healthy. Our Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Owners discuss in detail all the things you need to consider before choosing a puppy as well as questions to ask.

There is no other species that us humans get on so well with!  I truly feel blessed for having dogs in my life and it only comes natural to spoil them rotten for all they give us.


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