Today is National Dog Day and all my social media feeds are positively flooded with friends and their furry companions, and it’s with good reason: Pets are awesome!

While I am more of a cat lady (no shame!), I can attest to positive effects a dog (or a cat who thinks she’s a dog) can have in your life. From prompting you to be more physically active or putting you in a better mood, pets can seriously change your personality and outlook.

Take a look at 7 ways a pet can change your life and even turn your health around!

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1. They Can Keep You Active

This is mostly true if you have a dog, because they require being walked several times a day. If you are otherwise inactive taking your pup to go out potty is the perfect excuse to get your 10,00 steps in a day. In addition, your furry friend will give you an excuse to visit parks, dog runs and just generally be outdoors. Especially if you live in a big city like New York, the last thing you want is for them to be cooped up all day!

2. They Make You Feel Less Lonely

An animal is truly the ultimate companion that gives you unconditional love. Dog or cat, these little creatures love you to death and in return, you love them. Whether it’s because you feed them or clean their poo is up for debate, but all I know is that when I come home to my empty apartment and my cat rubs up on my legs or I wake up to her napping right next to me, it’s the best feeling in the world. Check out Best Dog Breeds for Apartments

3. They Make You More Responsible

A pet will seriously coax you into your stuff together. If you’re an otherwise selfish, disorganized mess a real, live animal will help you get your priorities straight. You have to wake up early to walk your dog and if you have a cat then forget about it. They will wake you up to let you know they’re hungry regardless of the time. In addition, you really can’t leave your stuff lying around like a mess. One time I left a pair of shoes in my living room and when I woke up the next day I found them totally destroyed – teaching me not to leave my valuables lying around in disarray.

4. They Can Help You Deal With Depression

Feeling down lately? A pet can really help you cheer up when you’re down in the dumps. Whether its jumping on top of you, licking you or following you everywhere you go, it’s impossible not to have a smile on your face as they nuzzle up to you. And, as we all know, just one smile is enough to change your whole day for the better. Imagine what that means in the long term!  Check out animal assisted therapy.

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5. They Are The Ultimate Ice Breakers

Having trouble meeting new people? It’s no mystery that having an adorable companion by your side attracts a lot of smiles and gives them more than enough of an excuse to come up and chat with you. You may be surprised by who comes up to you and asks for your number. Unfortunately, unless you’re the guy who walks around New York with a cat on his head the same can’t be said for your kitten, but at least it’s a good excuse to take selfies!

Also, if you find out someone doesn’t like pets, it’s best you stop talking to them because they are weird and not to be trusted. Just saying.

6. They Can Lower Stress

Feeling stressed out? Similar to how a pet can help you deal with depression, a dog or cat can also help you handle stress better as they take the focus away from what’s bothering you and helps you think about other more light hearted things. The other day I was in a really stressful situation and my cat just came up to me and started licking my hand… like a dog. At first I was so perplexed I couldn’t even move and then I just started laughing. That certainly lifted the mood!

7. They Can Give You Energy

Because they’re essentially your little children, your pet can be the difference between looking forward to go home with a sense of purpose and feelings of uneasiness. While you might have had a long or stressful day at work, a dog’s energy in particular – with their tongues hanging and tails wagging – can be contagious!

For more Advice, check out our articles here.

What are some health benefits or life improvements you’ve experienced while having a pet?

 

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