The 27 Definitive Ways That Dogs Improve Our Lives

The 27 Definitive Ways That Dogs Improve Our Lives

Dogs aren’t just pets. For many of us, they’re equal members of the family. We cast them in our weddings, take them on road trips, and even put them up in 5-star dog ‘hotels’ when we’re forced to leave town on business. They’re our best friends, therapists, running partners, and cuddle buddies. Clearly, we share a very special bond with our canine companions.

But when was the last time you stopped to think about the countless things your dog does for you? We’re not just talking tail wags and sloppy kisses (though those things are great too). We’re talking about the myriad ways — small and large — that your dog makes a very real impact on your health, happiness, and sense of self to make each day immeasurably better.

Based on research from our Milo’s Kitchen Dog Happy Survey — and in honor of National Dog Appreciation Day — here is a definitive list of the 27 ways that dogs improve our lives.

  1. Stress relief

    Aside from being unpleasant, stress takes a serious toll on your mental and physical health. The good news is, spending time with your dog lowers your cortisol levels and boosts serotonin, both of which lead to lower stress levels.

  2. Staying active and fit

    People who own dogs tend to be more physically active and have lower rates of obesity compared to people who don’t. While it’s true that more active people are more likely to adopt dogs in the first place, the science shows that even a minimal amount of exercise — such as the 15 minute daily walk your dog requires — goes a long way towards promoting overall health, so you don’t have to be a marathon  runner (or even close) to reap the benefits.Desert Run with Dog

  3. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol

    Statistically speaking, dog owners have fewer heart attacks and a significantly better survival rate one year after an attack.

  4. Comforting us

    Dogs are highly attuned to their human companions’ emotions. They can detect when we’re sad and seem to know just how to make us feel better — whether with a cuddle or just by acting silly. 79% of dog parents say their dog actively tries to comfort them.Dogs comfort us

  5. Encouraging social interaction

    People will stop and talk with you when they see you walking your dog. Not only is having a furry friend a great ice breaker when you see someone you want to talk to, the positive attention that people lavish on your pooch is proven to boost your mood by association.

  6. Coping with depression

    Dogs require you to care for another living thing and they make great listeners — both things that help those going through tough times.

  7. Teaching us about love

    Dogs help us better understand the nature of unconditional love, which in turn makes us more loving towards our human on the couch 2

  8. Health alert detection

    Dogs can detect seizures, cancer, and low blood sugar long before humans can, and they can be trained to alert their owners. For many people living with these conditions, an early alert can be the difference between life and death.

  9. Companionship

    Because both people and dogs enjoy companionship, spending time with a dog feeds this basic human need.

  10. Allergy deterrent

    Children who grow up in homes with dogs are less likely to develop a number of common allergies.

  11. Mood enhancement

    Petting a dog who loves the attention creates a positive feedback loop that can’t help but improve your overall mood.

  12. Heat therapy

    People who suffer from fibromyalgia and other temperature-regulation conditions get relief from cuddling dogs.sunday snuggle

  13. Improved dating possibilities

    For the single guy or gal, dogs are the ultimate ‘wingmen.’ 66% of women and 59% of men say they’re more attracted to people who have dogs, and if you can get your pooch to approach that cutie on the other side of the park first, you don’t even need a pickup line.

  14. Study help

    When learning a new subject that requires a lot of time and focus, dogs stay by our side so we don’t have to go at it alone.Milos Kitchen Study Buddy

  15. Bringing joy and happiness

    Happiness is contagious, even across species. When you see a dog that’s as joyful and carefree as can be, it’s pretty difficult to resist feeling the same way.

  16. Personal security

    Dogs’ razor-sharp instincts and intense loyalty make them excellent at protecting you and your home. A study conducted by Ackerman Home Security found that even small dogs act as a deterrent to burglars — after all, barking attracts a lot of unwanted attention.

  17. Family conflict resolution

    Conflict mediators have been known to use dogs in their sessions because their calming effect softens people’s hearts and makes them more open to receive opposing points of view.

  18. Encouraging responsibility

    Dogs help children become more responsible by making another living thing dependent on them. Children as young as eight are capable of taking on most of the duties involved with caring for a dog.Milos Kitchen Responsibility

  19. Making us more patient

    Taking care of a dog requires commitment, and helps us become more patient and less selfish.

  20. Reinforcing good habits and routines

    Dogs regularly need to be walked and played with, which means we humans get up and out of the house as well.

  21. Keeping us on schedule

    Dogs help many of us wake up earlier and also return home by a scheduled time when we’re out and about.

  22. Teaching parenting skills

    As Americans are choosing to have babies later and later, they’re first adopting ‘puppy kids,’ which help them practice their nurturing instincts and familiarize themselves with the responsibility that having a kid actually entails.Milos Kitchen Parenting Skills

  23. Anti-bullying

    Studies show that children are more accepting of peers with differences when in the presence of a dog.

  24. Improving literacy

    Dogs are great listeners, and they’re non-judgemental, so children who have trouble learning to read often have greater success reading aloud to a dog than to teachers or peers.

  25. Self-esteem and pride

    People largely consider their dogs to be a reflection of themselves and take pride in having a dog that’s well-behaved, well-trained, or very friendly.

  26. Immune system support

    According to a study by Wilkes University, petting a dog for 18 minutes causes an increase in secretory immunoglobulin A, an antibody that protects against invading germs.

  27. Personal assistance

    Dogs can be trained to perform a number of household tasks, such as opening doors, retrieving the telephone, and turning on lights—skills that are especially useful for people with limited mobility.

Milos Kitchen Assistance

There you have it — dogs aren’t just cute, cuddly companions. They’re doggone heroes! They help us to be better versions of ourselves every single day. So next time you see your dog, say thank you, give him a treat, and take him for a long, scenic walk. He deserves it.


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