by Melody Keilig
Whether you’re a new dog owner or have had dogs all your life, you’ve got to check out the major health benefits you’re receiving from your dog every day!
We appreciate our pets every day, but it’s always a great idea to commemorate our pets to show how much we care about them. Having pets is so beneficial to our lives, so taking care of your furbaby includes more than just cute moments! So let’s get into this celebration - and find out what you can do to make this week extra special.
Pet Appreciation Week was founded by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1981. The mission was to raise awareness about the many benefits of having pets in our lives. In particular, dogs are amazing pets to bring in more positivity and upbeat energy.
Whether you’re having the best day ever or have had a sequence of negative experiences throughout your day, your dog will always greet you at the door with excitement. Who wouldn’t feel better walking through the door to a wagging tail and dog kisses?!
The emotional bond between a human and a dog is similar to the emotional relationships formed between humans. After all, early humans bonded and domesticated dogs thousands of years ago, so it’s no wonder that they’re still our best friends to this day!
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Yes, that’s correct. Having a furbaby to nurture and care for has many health benefits! For example, a study of pawrents from 1950 to 2019 found that having a dog reduced the risk for all-cause mortality by 24 percent!
Dogs help us stay active, even if it’s just a short walk every day. Even if their Porch Potty is conveniently indoors, dogs still need to go out for regular exercise. Of course, humans need that exercise, too, so having a dog keeps us moving every day. This physical activity gets our hearts pumping, helps our muscles and bones get stronger, and improves our overall stamina.
You and your dog receive other benefits like a stronger bond by spending more time together. Not sure what physical activities to do besides your regular walk? Check out the growing world of dog sports to find a new, exciting activity!
Socialization & Routine
Dogs keep us on track every day. Even though they sometimes get under our toes, remember that they love us so much! Plus, what would we do without our little shadows following us around?
Our furbabies fulfill our human instinct to nurture, and because our schedules revolve around them, they give us a healthy sense of routine and purpose. When we go through our day taking care of ourselves and our dog, we get fulfilled with a sense of achievement and reward.
These factors positively impact our mental health and socialization skills. For our dogs, their trust and bond with us strengthen when we go through a daily routine with them. Even if your routine is as easy as a daily walk, having a daily schedule, whether simple or filled with activities, helps the same.
Improved Mental Health
We mentioned a boost in mental wellbeing, but it goes further than us establishing a routine with our dog. Spending our time with our dogs improves our mental health, even in the most mundane activities, like waking up in the morning to a big doggy smile or enjoying a good cup of coffee with our pup resting nearby.
Why? Because our dogs bring out the best in us, giving us a more positive outlook on life. Dogs also contribute to lessening symptoms of depression and anxiety in humans. So, when our dog brings out our best self, we feel more loved.
There's something called the "baby schema" that we see in our dog's facial expressions. Think about it: our dogs' big eyes, floppy ears, cute quirks, and other delightful and goofy behaviors make us feel all bubbly inside.
These facial expressions trigger our nurturing instincts. Much like how our older relatives pinched our cheeks when we were kids, we want to squeeze our dog's cheeks and tell them how adorable they are every day!
They Make Us Feel Less Lonely
Do you ever think back and remember life before your furbaby? Maybe you came home from work to an empty apartment, longed for a walking buddy, or otherwise felt lonely during your off time. Our pups fill the "too quiet" space that can make us feel lonely and other pawrents can back this up.
According to a study of pet owners from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, a whopping 80% responded, saying they believe their pet makes them feel less lonely. Meanwhile, 54% of these pet owners added that their pet helps them connect with other people.
During the pandemic, 23 million American households adopted a pet. And it's no wonder that happened! Whether people were laid off or had to work from home, we had a lot more time to sit in our homes with our thoughts. Adopting a dog became something that brought joy while we were locked down.
Now that you see the clear benefits of having a dog, you can appreciate your furbaby even more for Pet Appreciation Week this June 5-11th! Do something special for your pup as a big thanks for all of the happiness they give you.