A human hand meets with a dog paw to make the shape of a heart.

Image: Shutterstock

Dogs are awesome. They just are. And, as it turns out, they’re also awesome for your health! It’s no secret that being around animals is a benefit for humans: they make us calmer, more collected, and dogs especially make us feel loved (cats, too, but dogs are just more willing to express it). Studies show that children who were raised in households that owned dogs were less likely to be described as “anxious” by their parents, compared to people who did not own dogs as children. Woof!

You’re less likely to develop allergies.

Children that grow up in a house with dogs are less likely to develop allergies over the course of their lives. Researchers found that having a dog gives people a kind of “immunotherapy” benefit and reduced other allergies quite significantly. Additionally, the germs that dogs carry around with them can actually help boost our immune systems. I know that seems kind of gross, but it’s true: having more bacteria in the house gets you accustomed, and therefore resistant, to lots of things.

Dogs make you happy. Really.

People who own a dog are less likely to suffer from depression than people who don’t own any pets. In a study that looked at 167 pet owners and 50 non-pet owners, researchers found that dog owners were less depressed, less lonely, had better self-esteem, and they had less stress. Having a dog to take care of and to love gives people a lot of purpose in life. Owning a dog keeps us responsible, proactive, and feeling loved.

You get more exercise and your social life is better.

Dogs, for the most part, are active little buddies. They need you to take them on walks, on jogs, or just to go run around and play outside. Most dog owners get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day because of their furry friends. And exercise is a great thing to get! Furthermore, while you’re out on a walk, you’re more likely to stop and talk to people and connect with new friends. Friendship is just as important as exercise.

Of course, don’t get a dog if you don’t have the time, space, or funds to take care of one. Make sure that you have the means to be a responsible pet owner before you become one! But if you’re sure you’re ready for it, there are plenty of animals in shelters that need homes!

Do you have a dog you love? Share a picture with us below!