The Joys and Benefits of Being a Dog Owner

Kristen Scollard is a public relations student from Humber College

There is no doubt that owning and caring for a dog is hard work and stressful at times- especially owning two in my case. But there are many more joys and benefits to owning a dog. If you’re a dog lover you’re well aware of how they enrich our lives, making us happier overall.

I own two pug mixes, Timmy who is a pug/beagle mix (or so we were told…he grew to look like a much more unique looking dog), and Taavi is a pug/boston terrier mix. They are both extremely hyper and full of life. They have their moments at times, as they are both males and there can be a bit of a power struggle. However at the end of the day, it’s pure brotherly love! Each breed has different characteristics and behaviours, but it’s their companionship that is undoubtedly always there.

Here are some of the joys and benefits of being a dog owner:

1.) Dogs boost your mood

They have long been known to make great companions, but many aren’t aware that they actually boost your mood as well. Research shows it only takes 15-30 minutes with your pet to feel more relaxed and calm. They are seen to be therapeutic for people and are used in places like community centres, hospitals and care centres to help people who may be in need for emotional benefits.

2.) Dogs help you to stay active

An added benefit if being a dog owner is that they encourage you to exercise more. As a dog owner, it becomes part of your natural routine and you’ll be going for at least one walk a day, if not more. Therefore staying active is almost inevitable and a great bonus!

3.) Dogs help to relieve stress

According to a study from SUNY Buffalo, being around dogs were proven to relieve stress levels. A number of people with dogs dealt with various types of stressful tasks, where some were able to see their dog before or after the task. The lowest responses to stress were amoung those who were allowed to see their dogs. Even playing with or petting an animal can increase the levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.

4.) Dogs provide safety and security

Dogs, no matter the size will always provide a degree of security in the home. It is their instinct to protect the territory they live in. Their keen sense of smell and hearing will alert you well in advance of any approaching stranger. Outside the home, they will also protect your personal space if any unusual behaviour is sensed from there. Of course proper training should be practiced so they don’t act out.

Overall, having a dog teaches us patience, commitment, selflessness and responsibility. Along with all of these benefits, dogs are the only beings that love us more than they love themselves, they truly do just brighten your day and will always show you unconditional love. I can’t imagine life without them!

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