The Mood Boosting Power of Owning a Dog

Dogs have long been known as “man’s best friend.” Having been domesticated for upwards of 15,000 years, dogs have provided companionship, protection, and love for their human counterparts with unwavering loyalty. Studies show that dog owners are happier, healthier, and more fulfilled than those who don’t own a dog. Dogs keep their owners active by requiring consistent walks and playtime, but they can also help boost mood and overall well-being. 

Constant Companionship

The companionship a dog provides is unrivaled. No matter your social or relationship status, your dog is always happy to be with you. From long hikes and camping trips to simple walks to the corner store, having a dog means the option of always having a friend by your side. 

If you’re lucky enough to take your dog to work with you, you might just raise the morale of the whole office! Studies show that bringing your pet to work encourages a work-life balance and reminds employees to take regular breaks during long workdays. 

Feelings of Security and Safety

While not all dogs make great watchdogs, having a dog in your home can create a feeling of safety or security. Knowing that your dog will protect you, or at least alert you to possible intruders can give you peace of mind. 

Unconditional Love

There’s an old saying, “I hope to one day be the person my dog thinks I am.” Your dog loves you unconditionally; dogs don’t care if you have your hair done, wear the latest clothes or own the most up-to-date technology – they are just happy to be by your side! Dogs see you at your best and at your worst, and they love you just as you are.

If you’ve recently moved to a new city where you don’t know anyone, or you’ve recently gone through a tough break-up, consider adopting a dog to keep you company and provide you with love and friendship.

Sense of Purpose

Dogs bring their owners a sense of purpose; tending to your dog’s needs, from feeding to exercise to playtime, taking care of your dog can give you a sense of fulfillment. Having another living being to love and care for helps your brain produce a lot of “feel good” hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin, and prolactin, which all lend themselves to your overall emotional well-being. 

If you are feeling lost, directionless, or stagnant, consider adopting a dog. Even moreso, consider adopting a rescue dog. Rescue dogs, more than others, are sincerely grateful for a loving, warm home with a pet parent that cares about them. Who knows – that sad, lonely mixed breed at the shelter may end up saving you just as much as you saved him.

Better Overall Health

Having a dog in your life keeps you active and engaged, encouraging you to get outside to go for walks or go spend time on the beach while your dog paddles through the water. Breaking a sweat in the sunshine is mood-booster for anyone, but having a dog to encourage you to get out more often benefits both your mental and physical health. In fact, it’s even backed by science! According to a study at Miami University in Ohio, dog owners have a generally overall better well-being than those who don’t have a dog, as well as less fearful and more physically fit! 

Having a dog is a commitment for the lifetime of your dog. From puppyhood to his senior years, your dog requires adequate nutrition, training, veterinary care, and physical and mental stimulation. In turn, you receive a lifetime of love, friendship, entertainment, and fulfillment that only a dog can provide. 

Abi Pennavaria is a loving dog mom, avid volunteer vet, and co-author of Saved By The Bark blog. She enjoys sharing tips and tricks for dog owners of all breeds.

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