Dogs or cats? This is arguably the greatest debate in history. Which pet makes a better companion? Let’s keep it real; life is so much better with a dog by your side! These cute and cuddly fur babies steal our hearts, enrich our lives and bring us immense joy in various ways, not to mention their boundless loyalty and happy-go-lucky personality.
Research shows that owning a dog does wonders for your health and well-being. Pups make us healthier and happier, help us cope with trauma, and even get us new friends.
No wonder they are touted as man’s most devoted and greatest pals. Don’t just take our word for it. If you need more convincing reasons, read along to discover why you should own a dog. Indeed as the ancient saying goes, dogs repay the love you show them ten-fold.
1. Dogs Are Super Fun!
Unlike cats, who are fine playing alone, dogs love to play, especially with humans. Cats can run, climb, jump and toss around their string toys but are awful at team play. They’ve mastered how to have fun on their own.
Meanwhile, dogs are cheerful and active and shine at interactive play, especially with their human companions. A game of chess, fetch, frisbee or tug-of-war with Fido will create wonderful memories and strengthen your bond with your furry pal.
Furthermore, if Rover enjoys playing with other dogs, you can host a doggo “playdate” with another dog, but only if both pups are healthy, well-socialized, and don’t get on each other’s nerves.
2. Dogs Are Easy To Train
Yes, you can train your kitty, but feline lovers agree it’s not as straightforward as training Fido. Cats have a short attention span, and even their favorite treats are not enough to make them focus when they tire of their training sessions. If anything, they’ll swat the reward off your hand and flee away.
Cats are naturally self-reliant and willful, so you’ll need a bit of effort, practice, and patience to establish boundaries. On the other hand, dogs love training. Their pack mentality makes them more receptive to following commands.
They are eager to interact with you and learn new skills, from tricks to manners, commands, and behaviors. Furthermore, they have a longer attention span and love mentally and physically stimulating activities in exchange for tasty rewards and extra attention.
3. Dogs Have High Adaptability
An admirable trait about dogs is they quickly adapt to change. They’ve been man’s closest companions for decades and have learned to adapt to changes in their surroundings.
Although some pups are anxious and fearful, dogs as a species are generally more accommodating of adjustments and quickly settle into a routine. This makes them a choice pet for families that move around constantly.
In contrast, cats are sensitive and have difficulty adjusting to change. They can be distrustful, especially around new people or pets, and become anxious about their new surroundings. You’ll notice your kitty hiding away from people.
4. Dogs Keep Us Active
Cats tend to curl up in a ball, lounge all day, or stare out the window. Although you may bump into some people walking their cats around the neighborhood, it’s not the norm.
Conversely, pups are fantastic workout buddies. They have boundless energy and are eager to explore. They motivate you to stick to your workout schedule. Dogs enjoy walking, running, and playing sports like flyball, disc, and agility.
Walking is a good form of cardio that works wonders for your midsection, lower back, and legs and boosts your overall health. Research shows that dog owners are four times more likely to meet their daily physical activity goals than non-dog owners.
5. Dogs Can Guard You
There’s no denying that pups are fiercely loyal and devoted to their owners, and this trait makes them excellent guardians.
They will keep you safe from danger and physically fight off intruders. They also have a keen sense of hearing and smell and are more intimidating than kitties making them ideal deterrents for burglars and intruders. Dogs can even wake you up and drag you out if there’s a fire, something a cat can’t do.
A cat’s first instinct is to run and hide when there’s trouble. They’re too timid to defend you in case of a break-in, but even the smallest pup will bark and growl to alert you of strangers or suspicious noises.
6. Dogs Can Give You Emotional Support
Dealing with stress, anxiety, or trauma is tough. Dogs have high emotional intelligence and are more attuned to human emotions than cats. They mimic your feelings in a way that says, “I am here for you as long as you need me.”
Studies show that interacting with therapy dogs can provide comfort and ease to people suffering from anxiety, stress, and mood disorders.
Moreover, petting your furry companion for 10 minutes has been shown to lower heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and cortisol- the stress-causing hormone. At the same time, it increases feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
Dogs can also offer psychological support to trauma patients. Researchers at Purdue University discovered that service dogs helped military veterans with PTSD cope both psychologically and physiologically.
7. Zero Litter Boxes!
Cat lovers can admit that litter boxes are gross, no matter how hygienic you maintain them! While they come in handy for containing messes and preventing odors from wafting throughout your house, there’s always that lingering smell.
Finding the best spot to place the litter box in a small house can be practically impossible, but scooping up poop is not fun – you have to identify an ideal spot.
Fido doesn’t need a litter box. They can stick to a schedule and do their business outdoors, not inside your house!
You only have to scoop up their mess using a poop scooper and poop bag, unlike cat owners who have to also deal with urine. It’s not a glorious task, but it’s better than a stinking home.
Related: Which Are The 7 Best Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes?
8. They’ll Make You Happier
It’s scientifically proven that dogs are friendlier and make us laugh more frequently than cats. Of course, we are about showering our fuzzy pals with nose boops, snuggles, and pats. Statistical evidence shows that cat owners laugh less than even those without pets. No offense, but kitties are downers!
A pilot study found that staring into your canine’s eyes raises oxytocin, the love hormone. Dogs are generally mood boosters. They exhibit more positive social behavior towards humans compared to cats. While kitties are more willful and less responsive to emotional cues, dogs are more attentive to human emotions.
9. Dogs Have A Higher Purpose
When last did you see a cat sniffing out for evidence in a rescue mission or herding cattle in the fields? Yes, cats have a special spot in animal-assisted therapy, but they are not suited for many roles and jobs like dogs.
Although most pups are kept as pets, they still assist humans in several significant ways. Over the years, dogs have taken up several roles, and more innovative duties for them come up yearly.
They work on farms as drovers and herders and perform even more noble duties, such as detecting ovarian cancer, participating in search-and-rescue missions, and guiding the blind. Dogs also help the military and police fight crime, sniff bombs, and hunt for fugitives.
10. Dogs Improve Cognitive Function And Prevent Social Isolation In Seniors
Our canine companions take care of us more than we take care of them. Studies on the impact of dogs on seniors found that pet therapy improves social interaction and cognitive function in patients with mental illness. Also, dog therapy effectively reduces agitated behaviors in seniors with dementia.
At least 40% of seniors suffer from loneliness, which can trigger anxiety and depression. Isolation increases stroke likelihood by 32% and heart disease by 29%. Having a pet could improve their well-being and give them that closeness they get from family and friends.
Furthermore, pets allow older adults to socialize and connect with other people. Dogs are always the center of attention wherever they go; thus are great conversation starters.
11. Dogs Make You More Approachable
Dogs are good for your social life since people generally gravitate toward dogs. A man’s best friend can also help you make new friends. If anything, there are numerous places where dog owners meet for a sense of community, like dog parks, pet stores, and nature trails. A survey found that more than 50% of dog owners made new friends while on walks with their pups.
Our canine companions can be the catalyst that brings two strangers together to create lasting friendships. Dog owners are more approachable and perceived as more attractive- two factors essential for a magnetic social life.
Even better, a study found that people who post photos of themselves with their dogs get more positive interaction on social and dating platforms. Humans are hardwired to experience positive emotions upon seeing pets like dogs, especially puppies.
12. Dogs Can Teach Us Valuable Skills
Raising a dog is no easy task. You are responsible for an entire living creature’s health, safety, and well-being. You must ensure your pup is well fed, groomed regularly, goes on daily walks and indulges in sports regularly, is healthy, and has scheduled vet visits.
From training, carrying out proper grooming techniques, and creating routines, to showing patience and friendliness, dogs bring out the best in you.
Few things compare to the joy of having a dog. Unconditional love, affectionate and loyal to boot, an excellent companion – we simply don’t have enough fingers to count the various ways Fido enriches our lives.
Dogs have been proven to lead happier and healthier lives. Though cats can be adorable and cuddly, dogs take the crown in this age-old debate.