There are so many wonderful reasons to add a dog to your family. I should know, I’ve been using them on my husband for years.
For starters, academic research has shown that dog owners are happier, healthier and likely to live longer. It has long been well established that pet ownership makes people happier and research now shows that the benefits of owning a dog outweigh those of cat or any other animal.
Dr. Deborah Wells, a psychologist from QueenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s University, Belfast, said dog owners tended to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol. I’m sure that’s in large part due to all the regular walks most breeds require.
There is no doubt about it, people love their pets. According to APPMA, more than 60 percent of U.S. households include pets, and those pet owners pour $41 billion a year into pet care. This may seem like a lot of money. But when you consider the fact that owning a pet could very likely add years to your life, a pet can quickly seem like a wise investment.
Other benefits to adding a dog to your family include helping children learn important life lessons such as:
Self-esteem. The sense of accomplishment that comes from taking care of a pet builds self-image.
Compassion. Experts at Purina say kids learn to understand how people feel by caring for a pet.
Language and verbal skills. Children learn to express themselves and communicate when talking to a pet.
Responsibility. Caring for a pet teaches them how to take on risks and follow through with tasks.
Life events. The death of a family pet helps kids understand and cope with basic issues of life.
But where do you start? How do you know which is the best breed for you and your family? Should you go with a rescue pooch or an established breeder?
The one key to finding the best dog breed for your family: Research, research, research!
I highly suggest getting your hands on a book such as, Choosing a Dog Breed Guide: How to Choose the Right Dog for You. The Most Popular Dog Breed Characteristics including Small Breeds, Large Breeds, Toy Dogs, Terriers, Mixed and Rare Breeds, (long title; awesome resource!) which helps prospective owners find the very best dog to fit his or her own personality and lifestyle.
Also, take the Dog Breed Selector quiz on the Animal Planet website. It includes a few short questions and will give you great insight into the perfect dog for your family. You might be surprised by the outcome.
The videos in the Dogs 101 section of the website are extremely helpful too, simply outlining the pros and cons of each breed.
The AKC (American Kennel Club) is another great resource for finding local breeders, events, clubs, publications and tons more.
Lastly, talk to family and friends that own dogs and learn about their experience, both the highs and lows, trials and tribulations. Take notes and ask lots of questions.
Bottom line, adding a pet to your home is a huge commitment and one that should not be taken lightly. Take your time and think before you buy and you and your family are sure to enjoy a lifetime of happy memories with your new furry addition.
Photo credit: justmakeit