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Caring for a dog is a big job, just like daddy always said when we wanted to get a puppy. From baths to walks, man’s best friend seems more like man’s biggest responsibility. But did you know how much it is worth it? There are many reasons you may want to reconsider having a dog, one reason being is they lower blood pressure, but do dogs relieve stress?

Do Dogs Relieve Stress?

Studies show that interacting with a dog can be useful in relieving stress. Here are some ways Fido can help with your health.

They help you get a break When you need some time out during a stressful moment you can put a leash on your buddy and take him for a quick walk. You get him exercise and you some meditation time which is great for stress.

They lower your cortisol levels Dogs help you relax, so hanging out with your pet will help reduce your stress hormone cortisol reducing your stress levels.

They bring down your blood pressure A study in 2001 showed that pet owners with high blood pressure could maintain lower blood pressure during times of stress. Just being around your dog can help keep your blood pressure go down and lower blood pressure is better for stress. 

Another study showed that pet owners who suffered a heart attack had increased odds of survival.

They help you get more exercise Dog owners are more likely to be active and are more likely to take long walks. You have a companion so it makes it easier to get out there. Great for motivation to lose weight too.

They can comfort you I don’t know about you but I notice how my dog is even closer to me when I am sick. Somehow she knows how to comfort me when I need it most. This is true when we are stressed they fulfill that need of comfort for anyone who needs it.

They make you laugh You ever notice the number of funny animal videos on Youtube? People like to laugh at dogs and cats doing funny things, my family included. Sometimes I think my dog knows how to make you laugh and she does it on purpose. A good laugh is always useful for stress and a dog is a great way to make you chuckle.

Health benefits for children

Having a dog is not only a great way to reduce stress but children who grow up with a pet have a lower risk of getting allergies and asthma and learn more responsibilities, compassion, and empathy.

They help with separation anxiety Having a dog is a great way to help the children feel safe and not alone when mom and dad are not around.

They help with self-esteem Dogs are very loyal, so having this loving companion around is a great way to build a child’s self-image.

They help with future relationships Children are able to build better relationships in the future when they had a dog that they were emotionally attached to at a young age.

They can help hyperactive and aggressive children Properly trained dogs can help calm children who are hyperactive or aggressive.

Children and parents can both benefit health-wise from playing with a dog. They can be a great way to relax and calm the body as well as a way to help teach our children responsibilities. But caring for a dog is a great responsibility and one to always take into consideration.

Owning a dog is a commitment

Even though dogs can provide a lot of benefits to your health they are not a miracle and they require a lot of money and patience. If you are not a dog person than that is understandable, some people prefer cats because they require less time and attention.

If you are a dog person it is still important to realize the commitment you are getting yourself into because owning a dog will last you the life of the dog which can be anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Then you have to deal with the loss of your companion.

These are some other things you should prepare for:

Time and Attention Dogs require lots of time and attention. You must allow time to get outside with your dog to get him exercise to keep him healthy. Dogs. just like us, crave attention, and when they don’t get what they deserve it can lead to a change in behavior as well as health problems.

Money Owning a dog can be costly. According to the Petfinder, the average annual cost of owning a dog can range anywhere from $766 to $10,350. That is more than just dog food and treats. Here is a list of some of the one time and annual expenses for one medium dog.

One-Time Expenses

 

  • Spaying or Neutering Dog – $200
  • Initial Medical Exam – $70
  • Collar or Leash – $30
  • Carrying Crate – $60
  • Dog Training – $100

Annual Expenses

  • Dog Food – $120
  • Annual Medical Exam – $235
  • Toys and Treats – $55
  • License – $15
  • Pet Health Insurance – $225
  • Miscellaneous – $45

Read more about annual pet cost here 

Responsibility Dogs regardless of size and training can inflict harm on others and children. Owners have to make sure they are vigilant especially around children. If your dog causes harm to a stranger it may result in a lawsuit and that you wouldn’t want.

Health risk You may have a family member who has a pet allergy so you may want to consider this before taking on the responsibility of a dog. I have a family member who can’t visit because I have dogs and it can put a big damper on things like visitations and parties so that is something to be weighed.

Which dog is right for me?

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Choosing a dog is just as important as deciding if you want one. There are many types of breeds that are different sizes and have different personality traits. These differences can make the responsibilities of the dog change.

You need to ask yourself which dog fits your lifestyle. Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself.

How active is my household? If you have smaller children, disabled persons, or elderly persons in your home these are all things to consider when choosing a breed of dog. Some dogs would be better for small children because you wouldn’t want a large dog knocking over your small kids.

Do I have the right size place? Some larger dogs may need for more room for things like storage and the more active the dog you will need the space for him to play.

How much shedding can I take and how much grooming can I afford? There is a certain breed of dogs that shed a lot and I mean a lot like Australian Shepherds. Then you have dogs that hardly shed at all like Poodles. Both need grooming but which would you rather handle?

What age dog do you want? This has always been one of the first questions I asked myself. A puppy requires training and patience and certain times in my life I was just too sick or busy to handle all that so I had to get an older dog. So, if you can’t deal with the responsibility of a puppy you definitely want to think about this.

Do you have other animals? If you have other animals in the home you want to make sure you know they can handle you bringing in a new dog, some dogs and especially cats will not like it.

How active will you be able to be? As I mentioned, dogs need exercise, some breeds more than others. So you may want to look into this before choosing which dog to bring home.

Who will take care of the dog? One of the most important questions you can ask yourself is who will care for the dog. Children sometimes trick you into getting a dog and then take no responsibility for its care so you want to make sure this is established in the beginning.

Conclusion

Dogs are a great way to relieve stress and provide great health benefits but they do not come without responsibility. If you don’t have the time and money to take care of a dog, don’t fret, you can still be around them. You may have a family member who you visit who owns a dog or you can spend time volunteering at an animal shelter.

Any amount of time you spend with a dog is very beneficial.

So now that you now that dogs do relieve stress will you take advantage of this amazing gift mother nature has given us? Do you have a dog already and realize you need to spend more time with him/her?

I would love to hear about your experiences below in the comment section. If you have any feedback please feel free to share it.

 

12 thoughts on “Do Dogs Relieve Stress – 6 Ways Dogs Make Your Lives Happier”

  1. Oh yes, you are so right! They do relieve stress! I have a rescue dog, and the saying is accurate, who rescued who. Teddy, my rescue dog, is the sweetest, best dog. And he is so good at getting me to be less stressed and well, just puts a smile on my face. I love that you included the “which dog is right for me” section. So many people and I know a few, get a dog without really researching the type of dog and all the facts, then end up abandoning the poor thing. I know I did my research on what type of dog I wanted, so I knew which breeds would work best for me. Then I went to the rescue dog site and found my Teddy. Give them love, and they give you so much in return!

    1. Hi Leahrae,
      Yea research is important and I know people who have abandoned their dogs after not being able to handle them sadly. Dogs are great, they are so loving and it is unconditional. My Miah is sitting under me right now and it is funny we got her for my kids but she is always around me. I feel like she may know I need her the most. I am glad you can relate to this because dogs are wonderful. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I want a dog now 🙂 after reading your post. Good one . I like how the cost is laid out for us and also what breed is good. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Dini,
      Yeah dogs are great! I am not on team dog over cats or anything like that I just love how much dogs care for you. Thanks for your comment!

  3. This is such a detailed post. Dogs, actually all pets, become part of your family. I just love the company of dogs. They let you forget your stresses, problems, headaches and make things so light. You have given so many dimensions of having dogs as pets. Thank you for writing this post.

    1. Hi Deepika,
      I agree they do provide such great benefits to your lifestyle you just have to make sure you can provide for them. Thanks for your kind words and your comment!

  4. No lie without my dog sometimes coming home from work I could’ve just had the worst day ever. Just seeing my dog happy to see me walk through the door gives me the most refreshing feeling ever.

    Great article Dogs are better than humans most of the time when it comes to comfort and support.

    1. Hi William,
      You are right dogs are better than most humans at comforting because they have that unconditional devoted love that some of us don’t know how to give. You give the perfect example of how a dog can brighten up your day. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sadly, our dog passed away last Fall, and we miss him terribly. He was so much a member of our family. Still, I’ve been reluctant to get a new dog because of the cost and work involved in caring for them properly. But your concise points about the many benefits to our family from having a dog definitely have me rethinking things. I’m going to share this with my husband, and see where it leads us. As someone with high blood pressure, I think he’ll be especially interested to learn to have a dog can help. Thanks for this great article, Melissa!

    1. Hi Deedee,
      First off I am sorry for your loss. I know first hand the pain that comes with losing your dog and that very reason almost made me not get one when I became an adult with my kids for that very reason. However, just like any loss, you will have your memories and it will be okay if you get another dog. Our Miah, we got for my kids but she gravitates towards me, and I think it is because I am unhealthy and I need her most, just a theory. Animals are pretty smart that way and it is scary so that is another thing your husband may want to consider. That is why there are therapy animals. He can really benefit from a dog, just make sure you do your research beforehand. I wish you and your family all the best and thank you so much for your comment!

  6. Great article with a lot of information and yes, dogs are very helpful and a good pet animal. Dogs can help you deal with stress and also makes your happy and busy especially in lonely days of life. A super article with all information regarding dogs and stress in an easy and understandable way….

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I am glad you see the benefits of having a dog. They are great for anyone and really do help when you are lonely and stressed. Thanks for the comment!

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