It’s no secret that cold, wet noses make us happy. Ask anyone with a dog and they won’t hesitate to share just how much joy their tail-wagging companion delivers. Countless surveys confirm that dog parents believe it is actually easier to wake up in the morning because their dog is there to greet them. You may already think you know why this is so. But the reasons behind how and why dogs (and other pets) make us happy may surprise you.
Love Drools and Rules
Dogs have served as our best friend and worked alongside us throughout the centuries. The loyal companionship and unconditional love of dogs has been written about throughout human history.
Since dogs play such an important part of our lives, they have consistently held a starring role in our literature, too. From Lassie to Clifford, they accompany us on our adventures and protect us from our adversaries.
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was a children’s book by L. Frank Baum before it was a movie, and neither would be complete without one of the most beloved dogs in literature, Dorothy’s Cairn Terrier Toto.
Toto serves as Dorothy’s confidant on her journey through the land of Oz, while keeping her on her ruby red toes whenever the Wicked Witch was nearby.
Our lovable pooches are always there for us, in good times and in bad. They are a caring ally with ears to listen when we are lonely. And they cheer us up and make us laugh when we are down in the dumps. They are faithfully furry judgment-free sounding boards.
It’s no wonder grandma always said: “Never trust a man a dog doesn’t like.”
Trust the Science — Dogs Are Good For You
Odds are, you’ve heard a dog parent say that their pup has helped them get through a difficult time in life. That’s because dogs have an uncanny knack of teaching us patience, compassion, generosity, and kindness. These are all qualities that carry over into our personal and professional lives and make us better equipped to work and socialize with those of the two-legged variety.
Pet parents exhibit greater self-esteem and are more physically fit. You may not feel like getting out of bed and taking a walk in the rain first thing in the morning. But an insistent friend can make it seem irresistible.
Just by inspiring us to get outside and be more active, dog ownership can lead to a variety of benefits. Imagine a pill you could take every day that made you more conscientious, socially outgoing, and less fearful of relationships! Dogs can also be the perfect conversation starter when meeting someone new.
The Pandemic put more emphasis on the importance of Vitamin D obtained through sun exposure. There is a definite link between a lack of Vitamin D and depression. By walking the dog or just spending time with them outside on a sunny day, we are likely to become more content. And no one disputes that physical exercise causes the release endorphins – joyous little chemicals that make us feel happy.
Having a dog makes us more active because our exercise habits are influenced by Fido wanting to go out and/or play. You can turn the treadmill in your basement into something you hang blankets on, but that doesn’t really work with dogs!
Bottom Line: Regular walking or playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. The ultimate new “leash” on life.
Cuddles, Chemicals and Calm
Even small interactions with dogs cause the human brain to produce the hormone oxytocin, otherwise known as the “cuddle chemical.” Whatever name you prefer, the result is an increase in the feeling of relaxation, trust, and empathy. Not to mention the added benefit of reducing stress and anxiety. Imagine all of those warm fuzzies combined with unalloyed bliss.
Added Bonus: you’ll never get into an unwinnable argument about the thermostat with your dog!
A lot has been said about dog ownership, but the social, emotional, and cognitive development in the children who have a dog in the house cannot be understated. Not only do they help promote an active lifestyle in kids and provide companionship, dogs have even been able to detect oncoming epileptic seizures or the presence of certain cancers. It’s not surprising that about 38% of US households are estimated to have one or more dogs.
Pets Keep You Healthy, So Return the Favor
Whether you have a dog, cat, pot-bellied pig, or other fun pet, providing regular, life-long veterinary care is important for keeping your pet and family healthy. Regular veterinary visits are essential to good pet health. Keep up with your pet’s vaccines, de-worming, and flea and tick control. By keeping your pet healthy, you help to keep yourself and your family healthy.
Using a Pet Wellness and Pet Insurance plan will likely save you the most money and give you the most peace of mind. Combined, these plans typically cover all of the essentials – and then some.
With membership in Unified Caring Association you will receive a members-only 15% exclusive discount on Wagmo Pet Wellness plans. Beyond the great savings, a combo plan with Wellness and Insurance allows you to simply focus on your canine companion instead of worrying about pet-related expenses. Another wonderful way to relax and reduce stress.
One other last tip from Grandma: Dogs may not be our whole life, but they can make our lives whole.
By Mark Smith, contributing author
We invite you to discover inspiring and effective ways to care for yourself and to serve others. Now more than ever, caring is what we all need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. So, become a Custodian of the Caring Movement and help create the world we need right now, the world we want for our future generations.