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