When you hear the expression, “A man’s best friend,” what is the first thing you think of? Unless you’ve been living under a rock most of your life, the answer is pretty universal: a dog.

And a lot of other Americans would agree with that sentiment. With about 50% of American households having at least one Fido in their family, a dog seems to be the prime candidate to turn any house into a home.

But why do people love dogs so much? Are there any benefits of having a dog? Keep reading and find out 9 awesome reasons to get a dog ASAP.

Lead a More Active Lifestyle

For the most part, you will not find a better partner to go walking with than a dog. Not only are they always poised and ready to get on that leash, but having a daily routine of taking your dog on a walk is beneficial for both pet and owner alike.

In fact, a recent study found that dog owners had 20 percent higher activity levels than people who did not own dogs. More movement means better cardiovascular health, increased stamina, and an overall healthier body. It’s like having your own furry, friendly personal trainer!

Happier and Improved Mood

Let’s face it: dogs will put a smile on your face. Their antics, happy-go-lucky personality, and silly tail-chasing behavior all help contribute to a positive mood.

Why can we say that? Dogs are happy by default and are always glad to see you. Ask any dog-lover what happens if you step out of the house, even for five minutes. The minute your face appears at the doorway, your dog feels like he’s finally reunited with a long-lost friend.

Wholesome and loyal to a fault, dogs will love you no matter what and always come back for more belly rubs.

Feel More Protected

Dogs are one of those animals with a ‘pack mentality’. Their home and their human family are the borders of their world, and they take the responsibility of protecting that world very seriously.

Although a dog’s vision is moderate, they have a keen sense of hearing and smell. The slightest noise outside, such as an unexpected visitor approaching the door, will put them on high alert. They are quick to notify the household if a stranger is approaching.

This can even make things like taking a walk or going on a car ride feel more secure. Most of the time, even the presence of a dog ensures any unwelcome guest stays away.

Helps Grow Your Social Circle

While very protective, dogs can also help you connect with others. In fact, owning a dog opens you up to a whole new world socially.

Since walking the dog gets you out of the house on a daily basis, there is the chance to connect with neighbors who are outside as well. Most dog owners can vouch for the countless number of times they are stopped by passersby during walks, only to be asked if they would allow them to pet their fur baby.

Not to mention the countless outings, dog parks, and other opportunities to connect with others, many find the social benefits of having a new pet undeniable.

Entertainment for the Kids

While dogs are not toys, if you have children in your home, a dog can fill in certain gaps. Whether racing around in the backyard playing or snuggling together watching movies, dogs are notorious for enhancing anyone’s childhood. A lot of adults’ childhood memories revolve around that special four-legged friend that kept us company.

Company for Seniors

Many senior citizens have to cope with life alone or with far less to do once they reach retirement. Dogs have proven to be the companions they need and have helped fight off loneliness.

Because of this, many retirement centers bring dogs around for visits to improve the mood of their residents. This often contributes to better overall health among their older occupants.

Great Traveling Companions

Dogs just love to go out and be a part of their human families’ lives, and errands or vacations are no exception. You will not find a better car ride buddy than a dog, hands down. And while you obviously can’t bring them everywhere you go, dogs have been known to be great participants in camping trips, beach days (where dogs are allowed), and the like.

Get Ready for Parenting

Although this reason gets a few eyebrows raises at times — this should not be the ONLY reason to take on a pet — it still is worth mentioning. If you don’t have children yet, but would someday like to, a dog will definitely help get you ready for the responsibility involved.

Between maintaining a regular feeding schedule, household training, and other responsibilities, dog owners learn how to develop things like patience, love, and a good routine. These qualities help contribute toward not just being a great parent to your fur baby but also being a successful parent to the Homosapien variety in the future.

Make Your House a Home

No matter if you’re single, married, or apart of a family, owning a dog brings that much-needed aspect to a home. Warm, caring, and loyal, a dog is the kind of pet that can round out your lives and bring a great deal of joy.

Countless More Reasons to Get a Dog

This isn’t an exhaustive list; we could go on and on with many more reasons to get a dog. While they can be a great deal of work and require some patience, dogs can add an aspect to anyone’s life that just makes everything better.

So, in other words, why get a dog? To sum it up, because dogs are just AWESOME.

Want to learn more about the ins and outs of dog ownership? Take a look at some of our other helpful articles to find out more!