10 Reasons to Have a Dog in the Family
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If you have a dog in your family, you will have your own reasons why you adopted them in the first place. Once they become part of your family, you will learn many more as their character and nature reveal themselves. However, even people who have shared their lives with dogs for years may not know some of the less obvious ways dogs can benefit you. Whether you have a big family or you and your dog are the only family you need, we help you remember why you made the right decision. If you are asking, ‘Should I get a dog?”, AnimalWised can also help you answer with our list of 10 reasons to have a dog in the family. We also look at the benefits dogs can provide to kids and other family members.
1. Dogs are very cute
A dog's cuteness is an obvious reason why families will want to get a dog. Having a fluffy ball of adorability in your life can make even the hard days that little easier. However, there are also scientific reasons to show us why cuteness is so important to us humans. The "biophilia hypothesis" by Kellert and Wilson suggests that human beings have an innate need to relate to other living beings, due to our highly social behavior. This leads many people to be attracted to dogs.
When kids see puppies, they immediately want to be near them. This theory helps to explain why cuteness is something we naturally gravitate towards.
2. Dogs help us to learn
Before anyone adopts a dog into the family, they need to assess the responsibility. While cuteness may be a good reason to have a dog, it can never be at the expensive of their well-being. Dogs need the right level of care and attention to lead a happy and healthy life. For this reason, they are a great way to teach members of a family responsibility.
Not only do dog need practical care needs met. They also need education guidance. Knowing how to teach basic orders is not only good for the dog, but also for their guardian. Kids can learn when they see the dog adapt, but adult members of the family may also need a way to channel their energy more healthily.
3. Dogs keep our heart healthy
Dogs need an average of 2 to 4 walks a day, depending on their breed and individual health status. In some cases, a very active dog will need some more specific or intense exercise, resulting in a need for greater physical activity. This is a great reason to get a dog because our need to keep our dog healthy has the added bonus of keeping us healthy too.
A dog in the family can help us to stay on top of our own health and stay fit. For people with heart problems, walking a dog might be just the right level of exercise to keep fit without overdoing it.
4. Dogs help us sleep in winter
Have you ever head the phrase “three dog night”? It's a common phrase to many different cultures. It's phrasing is a little esoteric, but its meaning is fairly straightforward. When living somewhere very cold, some communities would have their dog sleep beside them to keep warm. On a particularly cold night, one dog wouldn't be enough. Therefore a three dog night is a night so cold, you need three dogs a your side to stay warm.
This brings us to our next reason. One of the often overlooked benefits of having a dog in the family is their coziness. As long as they are clean and healthy, having a dog next to you in bed can be a great way to keep warm on a cold winter night.
5. Dogs make us happy
Perhaps you don't need a scientific reason to understand dogs make us happy, but there is one. Various studies have shown that owning a dog can help us to reduce stress before exams, lower our blood pressure and generally reduce our anxiety levels. Much of this is to do with the reassuring nature of dogs as well as the soothing action of petting these animals.
6. Dogs help us to be sociable
Getting exercise is not the only benefit walking a dog can bring. Walking the dog is also a great way to be sociable. When we go to our local dog park, walk around the block or even attend dog related social groups. Even when we are not feeling sociable, our dogs give us a reason to go out in the world and engage.
7. Dogs can improve our immune system
When our dog becomes ill, our first worry is their well-being. However, we also need to be considerate of our own health. Zoonotic diseases are those which can be transferred from dogs oto humans. Fortunately, these are in the minority of ailments which affect dogs.
However, even healthy dogs have levels of bacteria which can be beneficial to us. By their nature, dogs will want to explore and interact with almost anything in their environment. For this reason, although we need to be considerate of their safety, the bacteria they pick up can help keep our own immune system in order. Of course, this is within certain limits and we need to ensure we maintain a dog's general hygiene.
8. Dogs help people with autism
If someone in your family has autism, whether adult or child, dogs can be an incredible companion. While the behavioral effects of autism vary according to individual, one characteristic of the condition is a difficulty in relating to other people. People with autism often find the stable, calm and positive temperament of dogs to be reassuring.
The reason people with autism often find it easier to bond with the family dog is due to their predictable forms of communication. In general, this favors positive social relationships, decreased anxiety, positive physical contact and improved self-esteem. There are scientific reasons to get a dog for a person with autism, but it is also important we consider the two individuals in each case.
9. Dogs are our best friend
Another great reason to have a dog in the family is due to the fact we get to learn their personality. A family dog which is well-socialized should bond well and become a great friend. We get to learn their rhythms, traits and individual characteristics. Sharing experiences with our dogs can lead to memories we cherish forever.
10. A dog's love is infinite
Even in loving families, it is easy to have problems and tensions. We can shout at each other, have mood swings and go through various ups and downs. During these times, unless they have an illness or behavioral problems themselves, our dog will remain by our side. A dog's capacity to love is infinite and palpable. When we are emotionally upset, they are there for us. Their love is sincere and unconditional. A dog's ability to spread love is perhaps the greatest reason to have a dog in the family.
What is your most important reason for having a dog in your family? Let us know by sharing your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. If you are thinking of adopting a dog, then check out our video below on why it's best to adopt a stray.
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- Kellert, SR, & Wilson, EO (Eds.). (1995). The biophilia hypothesis, Island Press.
- Thompson, K., & Smith, B. (2014). Should we let sleeping dogs lie… with us? Synthesizing the literature and setting the agenda for research on human-animal co-sleeping practices. Humanimalia, 6 (1), 114-127.
- Kertes, DA, Liu, J., Hall, NJ, Hadad, NA, Wynne, CD, & Bhatt, SS (2017). Effect of pet dogs on children's perceived stress and cortisol stress response. Social Development , 26 (2), 382-401.
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