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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Sorry cat-lovers, this one is for the dogs!

I have a dog back home in California. She is a four-year-old pug named Potato. My younger brother named her, so that should explain it.

Dogs provide unconditional love, continuous entertainment, and are devoted to companionship with their owners. They help make us happier individuals, physically and emotionally healthier, and they help us cope. Here are six science-based facts of how dogs benefit us humans.

1. Dogs make us feel less alone

Dogs can offer unconditional love to anyone, along with emotional support, and obviously the cuddles are great too! Studies suggest that those who owned a dog were able to have a reduced feeling of loneliness. Overall, dogs are there for you even when people aren’t.

2. Dogs are good for the heart

The same small Australian study showed that those who owned dogs had lower blood pressure levels and improved responses to stress. Stress is also deemed to be one of the major causes of most cardiovascular problems, hence, dogs are good for the heart. Literally.

3. Dogs help us cope with a crisis

Dogs can help with coping from a crisis someone has endured. A study at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine found that military veterans with PTSD did better both psychologically and physiologically when they were accompanied with a service dog. Veterans with PTSD who also had a dog had significantly fewer symptoms of PTSD and showed an improvement of coping skills. Even for those who are not veterans, it’s apparent that dogs are able to help with stress, depression, and anxiety, as well as PTSD.

4. Dogs encourage physical activity

Physical activity doesn’t even have to be strenuous. In a 2019 British study, it was discovered that dog owners were nearly four times more likely to meet daily physical activity guidelines than those who aren’t dog owners. Those who have dogs spend about 300 minutes every week just walking alongside their dogs which is actually 200 more minutes than people who do not own a dog.

5. Dogs make us more social

Walking with our four-legged companion makes us seem more approachable and sociable. It gives people a conversation starter. For those who have a dog, how many times have you been asked about your cute furry friend? I bet it’s quite a few. Think about how many times you have had a conversation with random people regarding your dog. Researchers have discovered that about 40 percent of dog owners have an easier time being social and making friends. Those who have strong relationships with their dog are also said to feel more connected to their human relationships and their communities.

6. Dogs make us happier

After all that’s been covered in this article, I’m sure the idea of our dogs making us happier isn’t shocking. Just looking at a dog can lift your spirit according to a 2009 study done in Japan. Researchers found that staring into your dog’s eyes raises your level of oxytocin, also referred to as the “love hormone.” Being around dogs boosts our moods naturally.

To close, if you don’t have one already, get a dog! Any type of dog will suffice, they’ll all love unconditionally. You know what they say, they are man’s best friend.

Hi! My name is Orianna Morales and I am originally from Bakersfield, CA. I attend GCU and I'm majoring in Government with an emphasis in legal studies to become a civil rights lawyer in the future. I'm also on the club wrestling team at GCU. Two fun facts about me are that I LOVE elephants & music!
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