10 Science-Based Benefits of Having a Dog. We dog lovers know that life is better with a dog. But why is that? Is it just a feeling, or is there something more to it?
Turns out, there is: Science.
Spending time with canine companions does wonders for your wellbeing. Recent research shows that owning a dog is good for you physically and emotionally. Dogs make us happier, healthier, and help us cope with a crisis—and can even help you get a date.
Here are Top science-backed benefits of having a dog:
1. Dogs make us feel less alone.
Dogs offer us companionship, emotional support, and affection – things that are essential to helping us feel less lonely. A small Australian study found that dog ownership can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute’s national survey of pet owners and non-pet owners found that 85 percent of respondents believe that interacting with pets can help reduce loneliness. Most agree that human-pet interactions can help address social isolation.
2. Dogs are good for your heart.
There are plenty of reasons to get a furry friend, and one of them is that they can help improve your heart health and even lengthen your life. A comprehensive review of studies published between 1950 and 2019 found that dog owners had a lower risk of death.
Further, studies suggest that dog ownership can help lower blood pressure levels and improve responses to stress. And even just living with a dog seems to make a difference—people who had experienced previous coronary events had an even higher level of risk reduction for death when living with a dog.
So why exactly does this happen? Research has concluded that the bond between humans and dogs reduces stress, which is a major cause of cardiovascular problems. So if you’re looking for a way to reduce stress and improve your heart health, consider getting a dog!
3. Dogs help you stop stressing out.
Multiple studies have shown that dogs (and therapy dogs) offer comfort and can help ease worries and stress. Just 10 minutes of petting a dog can have a significant impact on lowering blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and muscle tension. So if you’re feeling stressed, spending some time with your furry friend may be just what you need!
4. Dogs help us cope with crisis
Dogs help us recover from a crisis both physically and mentally. Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine discovered that military veterans with PTSD do better when they have a service dog. Veterans with a service dog had significantly fewer symptoms of PTSD and showed improved coping skills.
5. Dogs encourage you to move.
Dog walking is a great way to get your daily dose of physical activity. A 2019 British study found that dog owners are nearly four times more likely than non-dog owners to meet the recommended daily physical activity guidelines. Dog owners spend an average of nearly 300 minutes every week walking with their dogs – that’s 200 more minutes than people without a pup of their own!
6. Dogs make you more attractive—even virtually.
If you’re on the lookout for a date, you may want to consider getting a dog. A dog’s presence has been shown to make people appear more attractive and likeable.
In a series of studies, men were more likely to get a woman’s phone number when they had a dog with them. In another study, researchers asked individuals to rate people in photographs and found that those pictured with a dog looked happier and more relaxed.
So if you’re hoping to up your chances of finding love, a furry friend may be just what you need.
A study by Pet Wingman found that both men and women are more likely to right-swipe when they include a photo of their pup in their profile. Women benefited more from this strategy than men, but both genders saw an increase in right-swipes with dogs in their profiles. (And finding Fido photos on your camera roll shouldn’t be a problem—a study found that 65 percent of dog owners admit to taking more photos of their dog than their significant other.)