They have long been referred to as man’s best friend, so I thought I would collate some science-based reasons why dogs make us happier, some less obvious benefits of having a canine friend and a few ways you can celebrate your furry friends.
1. Dogs reduce loneliness – a small Australian study found that dog ownership had the potential to make people feel less alone.* Having lived by myself during numerous Covid-19 lockdowns, I can say without a shadow of a doubt Crumpet (my dog) kept me sane and gave me a sense of routine when life got turned upside down and inside out.
2. Dogs are good for the heart – according to a study conducted between 1950 – 2019 dog owners have a lower risk of death and suggests that they have lower blood pressure levels and improved responses to stress.* Hopefully my blood pressure is low but I can’t help think it might spike when Crumpet has one of her manic public barking fits or her separation anxiety is in full force.
3. Dogs help people from getting stressed – A Washington State University found that just 10 minutes stroking a dog can have a big impact in reducing cortisol (a major stress hormone).* I type this as Crumpet lays snoring across my lap and I’ve got to say, I feel pretty calm.
4. Dogs encourage exercise – A British research study in 2019 showed that dog owners walk 200 more minutes a week than non-dog owners* cue the silent nods of acknowledgement between dog parents walking their pooches around in the pouring rain or at the crack of dawn.
5. Dogs make us happier - A study in 2009 from Japan found that staring into your dog’s eyes can raise your level of oxytocin*. Just don’t try staring at a dog that’s not yours in the eyes as they can read that as a threatening behaviour!
And here’s some unexpected benefits of owning a dog from my personal experience
1. They give you a reason to celebrate – I can confirm that dogs get as excited for cake (dog cake not human cake obvs) as humans do as proven by this picture of Crumpet.
2. They can help scare off other animals (and possibly humans depending on the pitch and ferocity of their bark) from your garden… or just enhance the beauty of your garden as a living statue.
3. They act as a free hot water bottle – particularly handy when they are prone to sitting on your lap and there is a cost-of-living crisis
4. They can keep you company on the way to work – Crumpet used to accompany me to my old job which made the 3 hour round trip much more enjoyable. I did once try to carry her in a dog bag, which was not as easy as the Bag Dogs Instagram account makes it look.
5. They can inspire your creativity – many artists have used their dog as a muse including me! Last year I designed a print inspired by the many nicknames Crumpet has, which I now offer as a custom drawing.
In addition to standalone dog prints, dog portraits are often requested as one of the memories in peoples personalised prints whether it be drawings of peoples fur babies with family members or other pets, dogs at weddings walking down the aisle or even dancing with the bride and groom to completely random anecdotes involving dogs like the hungover woman who threw up on her four legged friend during their morning walk. I hope for her sake she had a slippery seal pup of a dog and not one with loads of curly fur because I imagine sick matted into dog hair is not fun for anyone!
*Original Source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/10-science-based-benefits-dog/