5 great reasons why your family needs a dog

(or maybe just another one!)

Whether a family of one or having created a mini school’s worth of children, an addition of a dog to your household could just make your family life even more complete. A “man’s best friend” is called that for a reason. Dogs are loyal and make great companions for a person on their own or to accompany a larger group. There are concerns with having a dog and understanding that it is a commitment is important, but looking at the benefits, there a several reasons to have a household that includes a four-legged friend.

1 – Learn about responsibility

Whether it is self-discipline or trying to instil the same mentality with your kids, a dog requires responsibility. A dog will not walk itself or feed itself and if it does, you are far too good at training your dog. Having the discipline to get up at a certain time, feed them at a certain time, walk them at a certain time, take them for regular grooming and tidy up after them is a life-long skill.

Most adults, let alone children haven’t managed this, so adding the responsibility and dependency of another living thing can really help build up the resiliency and discipline within your house. The best bonus about this is that for any children, it is far more rewarding to have to look after a dog than it is to do chores around the house but still builds up their understanding of needing to be responsible.

2 – Stop piling on the pounds and keep healthy

Especially when it’s cold outside and the duvet seems like a much better option than dragging yourself to the gym, a dog might just be the option to keep everyone a lot more active. Childhood obesity is on the rise and is a key factor in the increased development of diabetes and heart disease in later life. Having a dog means that you then have a living thing that has endless amounts of energy and more importantly, a great reason to spend more time outside and play. Who doesn’t love the idea of playing, especially when your furry buddy is more enthusiastic than a kid at Christmas??!

3 – Mental health for everyone

Ok, so now we have a serious reason. Mental health is an issue that nobody finds easy to tackle. However, this is much more important when looking at younger people. As we grow older, we find different ways to become resilient and express our own emotions. Mental health can affect everyone, but is especially challenging in younger people. An article by Kathleen Doheny looks into the research that shows the love from a pet can help reduce anxiety, stress and assist coping mechanisms in dealing with depression. This is even more important for those that have difficulty processing their emotions e.g. people on the ASD spectrum.

4 – Dogs actually LOWER your chance of getting ill!!!

Put down the anti-bacterial hand sanitiser for one second and just process this research… I have a huge interest in human biology, so after reading the headlines, I had to check the published papers out and I can’t believe it’s ACTUALLY true.  

Infants that grow up with either dogs or cats are LESS likely to suffer with respiratory related immune disorders and allergies throughout their life. This means that as long as an infant has a healthy immune system, being around a dog means their body becomes more resistant to foreign bodies and less likely to suffer health problems in their first year. They also have less need for antibiotics because they can fight off any bugs better!! For more info, read here if you’re interested.

If that’s not a reason to get a dog, I don’t know what is!!!

5 – Be sociable and have fun!

Having a dog is not just having an extension of the family. It is not just a bond of loyalty and companionship but is also a great way of building social skills. Having a dog means that you have a regular chance to play get out, but also meet other dog lovers. For children, it develops their ability to play but also your dog can be a great way of learning how to share and also how to interact with others. As an adult, check out Ten great things to do with your dog to see just how your furry family member can make your life that much more engaging and fun.

So…

There are lots more reasons to get a dog and we would love to hear some of your experiences of growing up with dogs, but it is still important to prepare in the right way. Make sure you are ready for the commitment and have a clear understanding of how to get your house ready for a new member. This is doubly important when you have young children or babies that will literally pick up anything and put it in their mouth. When you have taken those steps, embrace the new life in your family and make sure you send us some of your favourite pics!!!

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