Adopting a dog can be a rewarding and enriching experience, but it also involves a lot of responsibility and commitment. A dog is not just a cute and cuddly companion, but also a living being that depends on you for its care, safety, and well-being. Before you decide to adopt a dog, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of this decision and whether you are ready and able to meet the needs of a dog. In this blog, we will explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a dog, as well as some tips and resources to help you make an informed and responsible choice. We hope that this blog will help you weigh the pros and cons of adopting a dog and decide if it is the right decision for you and your family.
Pros and Cons of Adopting a Dog
There are many pros and cons of adopting a dog. Take your time in considering each section of this article on the pros and cons of adopting a dog, so you can make a well-informed decision.
The Pros of Adopting a Dog
Many of the pros of adopting a dog are rooted in science so that you can realize how truly beneficial it is to own a dog. This isn’t to say that EVERYONE should get a dog. And yes, we are biased since we love dogs, but there is a reason we do. The final decision is yours because only you know if owning and loving a dog is right for you.
Physical Benefits of Owning a Dog
The physical benefits of dog ownership can lead to a healthier, longer life. The following identifies what contributes to these effects:
Lowers Risk of Death
People with a four-legged friend are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease because of lower levels of stress on the body, according to a study in AHA Journal.
Lowers Blood Pressure
People with dogs at home are more likely to have lower blood pressure than those who do not have a four-legged friend. The American Heart Association contributes low blood pressure to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Reduces Cortisol Levels
Washington State University researchers found study participants who petted a dog for 10 or more minutes had lower levels of cortisol – a hormone released during stress that can cause health issues over time.
Increases Physical Activity
Dog owners are more likely to meet daily physical activity guidelines than those that don’t own a dog a 2019 British study found. They walk 300 minutes a week vs. 100 minutes a week by non-pet owners.
Read More: How Often Do You Walk Your Dog?
Fewer Health Problems
Participants in one study reported fewer health problems than those that didn’t own any pets.
Fewer Doctor Appointments
Dog owners report needing fewer doctor visits annually even when taking gender, age, marital status, income, and health-related factors into account.
Lower Heart Rate
Multiple studies show a statistical difference between dog owners’ heart rates and non-dog owners’ heart rates. Dog owners have lower heart rates, which greatly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and improves heart health.
Wellness Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago found that people who are overweight were more successful at losing weight when they owned a dog. Researchers believe dogs act as exercise buddies, similar to how someone trying to exercise more has a human buddy. The advantage of having a dog exercise buddy is that there isn’t any negative influence like there can be with humans who struggle with consistency.
The Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction found people who walked their dog 20 minutes five days a week lost an average of 14.4 pounds a year WITHOUT a change in diet.
Mars Petcare, a dog food manufacturer, found that dog owners walked 30 more minutes a week vs. non-dog owners.
You can read more about dogs and exercise in the article: Active vs. Non-Active Dogs
Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
Dogs make their owners happy, especially when they are happy. That’s why Dog Ownership Guide stands behind its motto – Happy Dogs ~ Happy Owners.
Dogs make their owners happy in many ways, including:
An Australian study found that people who owned a dog were less likely to feel lonely.
A United States survey by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that 85% of the respondents felt that interacting with pets reduces loneliness. Most of them also believed that pet ownership can prevent social isolation.
Lowering Stress and Anxiety
Many studies have found that dogs are highly effective in helping people lower their stress and anxiety levels. This is why therapy dogs are growing in popularity.
Recovering from Psychological Trauma
Military veterans suffering from PTSD experience fewer or milder symptoms if they have a service dog, according to Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
A 2009 study found that just looking into a dog’s eyes can raise oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone. It’s responsible for making people feel elated and happy.
Decreased Risk of Depression
AIDs patients in a 2017 study found that those who owned a dog were less likely to suffer from depression.
Learn More: Can Dogs Sense Depression and Anxiety?
Improving Cognitive Function
One research study found that pets improved the cognitive functioning of older adults suffering from mental illness, according to PSYCHOGERIATRICS.
Reducing Dementia Symptoms
Older adults who own a dog and suffer from dementia are less likely to feel agitated. They are more likely to engage in social interactions as well reports the American Journal of Alzheimer’s and Dementias.
The University of California at Davis concluded that Alzheimer’s patients had fewer aggressive outbursts when they had a dog or cat at home with them.
Social Benefits of Owning a Dog
Man’s best friend help people become healthier physically and mentally, but pet owners also reap the rewards of being more outgoing and socially accepted.
Appear Happier and More Relaxed
One study asked participants to rate people in photographs on how happy and relaxed they appeared. Participants rated the people in photographs with dogs in them as happier and more relaxed than in photographs without dogs in them.
Pet Wingman’s study found that women on a dating app received more attention when their profile picture included a dog in it.
Easier to Make Friends
Making friends may be easier for some dog owners, according to this study. Many dog lovers enjoy meeting new dogs and dog owners love talking about their dogs, which leads to many social interactions turned into friendships.
Another reason it’s easy for dog owners to make friends is that people see them as more approachable concluded one study.
Researchers in the U.S. and Australia asked people how much they interacted with their neighbors and the results were that dog owners interacted with their neighbors much more than non-dog owners.
Deeper Social Connections
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that people who have a strong attachment to their dog often have a strong connection to people and their community.
Additional Benefits of Pet Ownership
The list goes on for the benefits of owning a dog.
- Adopting a dog may make people happier and healthier because people who do feel as though they are doing a good deed. This altruism increases people’s self-esteem leading to great happiness and less stress, which improves health.
- Children suffering from separation anxiety may find being away from their parents easier when there is a dog to turn to during those times of separation.
- Autistic children have an easier time developing social skills when they have a dog in the house.
- Dogs help people understand what unconditional love is because even though a furry friend may chew through a favorite pair of shoes or have an accident on the new, expensive rug, most dog owners quickly rekindle their love for their four-legged friend.
The Cons of Adopting a Dog
Now for the cons of adopting a dog. While there are not as many cons to adopting a dog, the impact they have is much greater. Truly take these cons to heart as you make your decision.
Time and Effort
Owning a dog requires a significant investment of time and effort to provide daily care, such as feeding, grooming, exercising, and training. You will also need to devote time and energy to bond with your dog and create a positive relationship.
Owning a dog can also be expensive, as you will need to cover various costs such as food, supplies, medical care, and possibly boarding or pet sitting when you are away.
Training and Obedience
Some dogs may require more training and obedience work than others, depending on their breed, age, and background. This can be time-consuming and may require patience, persistence, and professional help.
Some dogs may suffer from separation anxiety when left alone, which can lead to destructive behavior, barking, or howling. This can be distressing for the dog and annoying for neighbors.
Dogs are prone to various health problems such as dental issues, allergies, skin conditions, and injuries, which can be costly to treat and manage.
Dogs have a shorter lifespan than humans, which means that you may have to say goodbye to your beloved companion sooner than you would like.
Owning a dog may also impose some restrictions on your lifestyle and activities, such as not being able to travel as freely or easily, or not being able to stay out late.
Some people may be allergic to dogs, which can affect their quality of life and make it difficult to live with a dog.
Owning a dog is a serious responsibility that requires you to make decisions that impact the dog’s well-being and happiness. This can be emotionally and mentally demanding.
Owning a dog may also involve some safety concerns, such as the risk of dog bites or attacks, especially if the dog is not properly trained or socialized. You will need to be aware of these risks and take appropriate precautions to prevent accidents or incidents.
Owning a dog can also be inconvenient at times, especially if you have a busy or unpredictable schedule, or if you live in a small or poorly equipped space. You will need to plan your activities and routines around the dog’s needs and may have to make sacrifices or adjustments to accommodate the dog.
Owning a dog may also limit your freedom and independence, as you will need to take the dog with you or arrange for someone to care for the dog when you are away. This can be a burden or a hassle, especially if you are used to traveling or being spontaneous.
Owning a dog is not for everyone, and you may find that a dog is not a good fit for your personality, lifestyle, or living situation. It’s important to honestly assess whether you are ready and able to commit to a dog and whether a dog is a good match for you.
Owning a dog also requires a certain level of responsiveness and attentiveness to the dog’s needs and signals, which can be demanding and require you to be present and available. You will need to be able to respond to the dog’s needs and requests and be sensitive to the dog’s moods and emotions.
You can read more cons of adopting a dog here: My Dog Is Ruining My Mental Health
Decide Based on the Pros and Cons of Adopting a Dog
Now you’ve read the pros and cons of adopting a dog. You have the information needed to make a wise decision depending on your life. Always go with your gut, heart, and head when making an important decision such as owning a dog. If you decide to do it, congratulations! Be sure to visit Dog Ownership Guide for the information you need to keep your dog happy, so you can be happy.
If you decide not to adopt a dog right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t adopt one in the future when life is a bit different. Know that whatever decision you make is the best one for you and your family at this time.