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Big Life Changes to Expect and the Benefits of Having a Dog

6 min read

There are so many benefits of having a dog. Of course, there's the obvious benefits like extra exercise and a best friend for life, but they can also improve your physical and mental health! All this greatness also comes with some lifestyle changes, however.

It's known far and wide that dogs are man's best friend. Their adorable faces and happy go lucky attitudes fill our lives with such joy, but did you know that there's actually numerous benefits of having a dog? Along with the benefits, you’ll want to find out how having a dog changes your life! From helping you to get fit to meeting new people to getting you up early, your puppy can actually help to improve your health and social life with their presence

Want to find out more? Keep reading to discover the benefits of dogs and the big life changes to expect!

How getting a dog changes your life - top 9 ways to expect 

Nothing compares with the joy of taking a dog into your life – but unless you are prepared for all the changes that are ahead of you, you may well feel as if your life has been turned completely upside down! (Which it kind of has!

So, how does having a dog change your life? Here are top 9 lifestyle changes to expect when your pooch waltzes into your home:

1.    Expect to have early mornings – every day!

While some dogs can grow up to be couch-potatoes who enjoy an occasional long lie-in, most will be up at the crack of dawn raring to start the day. Puppies especially will need to go out very early in the morning so your days of lounging around in bed till midday on a lazy Sunday are well and truly at an end!

2.    Daily walks are a must

No matter what the weather might be, dogs need daily exercise. Even those breeds who have fairly low demands when it comes to the great outdoors, need the change of scenery, enrichment, and the break from what can otherwise be a pretty boring day of just hanging around the house.  And of course, some of our most popular breeds were created to work all day every day – and so for them, getting out and about for a long, daily walk (or two) is a complete necessity. Without this, all kinds of dog behaviour problems can arise – and you will have an unhappy, bored, frustrated canine on your hands. 

3.    You’ll need to invest in waterproofs and wellies

This, of course, means you need a whole new wardrobe! Winter dog walks can be a chilly, wet affair if you are not properly dressed for the climate. Your hitherto stylish wardrobe will change – and your priority will be staying dry and warm as you explore the countryside or local area with your new best friend!

4.    Dog hair…there’s a lot of it

Speaking about your wardrobe… most of your clothes will now come with the added addition of dog hair! As will your carpets, soft furnishings and car. Some breeds shed more than others ( often it is the smooth or short coated dogs who shed the most) and so an investment in a good pet vacuum cleaner (and matching your clothes to your dog’s colour!) is going to be a key part of your new life as a dog owner.

5.    Poo bags in every pocket are a must

This one goes without saying. It is vital (and in most places, a legal requirement) that you pick up after your dog – and you only have to get caught out once and have to try and ‘improvise’, to realise that everywhere you go, you need to have a good supply of poo bags. And always have at least three times more than you need. You can never predict when it could end up being a ‘multi-poo walk’

6.    Nights out will need to be planned ahead for the foreseeable future

Your care-free days of impromptu nights out with your friends are at an end. Just like when you have children, you always need to take your dog into account when you go out. In time, your puppy may be able to be left alone for a few hours – or you might have friends or family who can puppy-sit – but part of your new life will be making sure your dog is looked after and happy when you are not there.

7.    Holiday planning will need to include your pooch’s needs

How getting a dog changes your life includes your holidays. Just like nights out, holidays have to be planned ahead. No more heading off for a spontaneous weekend away or a fortnight in the sun without thinking about your dog. Thankfully there are plenty of places you can go for an idyllic break where your dog can come too – but of course, this will depend on your dog being well-behaved and social (and that takes time and input from you). 

If you want to have a dog-free holiday however, you need to think about who will look after your dog when you are away. Family? Friends? A local boarding kennel? And if it is the latter, the good ones need finding well in advance and booking up early – and giving your dog a couple of trial overnight stays to make sure they are happy and comfortable long before you board a plane!

8. An empty bank account is likely for dog owners

Dogs are expensive. Sometimes eye-wateringly expensive. One animal welfare charity in the UK forecast that the potential lifetime cost of a large dog could be over £30,000 and at least £5,700 (although that was before the recent cost of living rises!). Food, vet bills, dog insurance, puppy equipment and accessories… they all cost money and are often unpredictable.

9.   You will have a full heart

While your bank account might be empty and your clothes covered in dog hair, your home – and your heart – will be full of love. Your dog will always be happy to see you (even if you’d only been gone for five minutes!), will always want to be by your side, and will give you the unconditional love and devotion that you can only ever dream of.

Knowing how getting a dog changes your life is imperative so you know what you’re in for and how to prepare. Though a lot of these may seem daunting, they’re actually great experiences that just require a lot of commitment. 

Now let’s list the main benefits of getting a dog – read on!

13 unexpected benefits to getting a dog

If you’re looking for a pooch to enter your life but you’re not 100% convinced yet, we’ve listed some of the unexpected benefits to getting a dog! Maybe these reasons can help you make that commitment after we listed those big lifestyle changes…

1. Life is better with dogs

Nothing beats a long walk with your four-legged friend on a fresh, spring morning. Or seeing the joy on their faces when you pick up a ball and they know it's playtime in the local park! Even relaxing at home feels better in each other's company.

There's an old saying, which is certainly true, that dogs repay the love you give them ten-fold. Before you rush out and adopt a dog, it's important to think it through very thoroughly. As we mentioned, caring for a dog can be hard work and it's a lifetime commitment as your dog will be relying on you for many years to come.

2. Having a dog can help you stay active, as well as them!

As we mentioned previously, dogs need walking every single day but one of the key benefits of having a dog is that they also significantly increase the amount of exercise you do on a regular basis - and you might not even notice it! While it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to go for a walk alone, when we know our puppy needs exercise, we often don't think twice. All those strolls through the park and adventures in the wood add up.

Even playing games with your dog counts as exercise. You've probably noticed how tired you feel after a long game of 'fetch', even though your dog is the one who's been running around. One of the biggest benefits of dogs is the way they encourage you to be more active, which supports your health as well as theirs.

3. Having a dog is a great way to meet new people

One of the unexpected benefits of dogs is the way they add to your social life. Going to obedience classes, saying 'hello' to other dog walkers when you go to the park with your canine companion - there are dozens of ways in which your dog makes you more sociable.

Your new puppy will get you out and about, trying things you never considered before and introducing you to new experiences. Whether you're going to a new pet shop or exploring a new area to make your dog's daily walk more interesting, you're bound to see new people all the time.

You're unlikely to stop for a chat with a stranger when you're walking by yourself, but we all know how easy it is to talk when our dogs want to make friends. These people can be invaluable as dog walking companions, sounding boards, and the perfect people to off-load when you need to ask “does your puppy…?” or when everything gets a bit much (as, at some point, it probably will.) 

Do, however, fully expect to be known by your dog’s name and not your own (“Max’s mum,” or “Daisy’s dad”!”)

4. Dogs are great for your blood pressure

One of the most fascinating benefits of dogs is their amazing ability to make us feel calm - and that has a brilliant effect on our health. According to Harvard University, studies have shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure which is both due to the increase in exercise and that blood pressure goes down when you merely pet your pooch.

It may surprise you to learn that our blood pressure actually has a big effect on our wellbeing too, so next time you feel stressed, or just need some time to relax, give your dog some TLC - you'll both feel the benefit!

5. Dogs are brilliant companions

One of the most noticeable benefits of owning a dog is that it's almost impossible to feel lonely when your dog is by your side, and for good reason. Most dogs are highly sociable, and they love company, whether it's canine or human.

When your puppy enthusiastically greets you after a day at work, or looks forward to being taken on their favourite walk, you know you always have a friend by your side.

6. Dogs teach us valuable skills

Dog owners know that training requires time, effort and patience - all things that are useful in other aspects of our lives. But that isn't the only thing having a dog teaches us. From enjoying the great outdoors to appreciating the smaller things in life, our dogs really know how to lead by example when it comes to happiness. Dogs and children are also an excellent match as they can teach them a lot about responsibility. Try making your child responsible for a certain aspect of your dog's day - such as feeding them in the evening or brushing them at night (oversee everything yourself, though!) - and you'll be encouraging valuable life skills that can't be learned anywhere else.

7 Additional benefits of having a dog

  • Dog owners generally have a stronger immune system, helping them to stay well and spend less time getting over sickness and bugs. In fact, dog owners visit the doctor less often than non-dog owners, and are less likely to be on medication.
  • People recover faster from illnesses and even have higher survival rates after a heart attack if they have a dog.
  • Children who have a furry friend have fewer days off school due to sickness.
  • Children with chronic illnesses often cope better with treatment when they have a canine companion.
  • Dogs provide us with a sense of emotional wellbeing thanks to the unconditional love they give, which is why they're also great company and comfort for people who live alone.
  • Owning a dog can help people to recover from personal trauma, such as bereavement.
  • Dog ownership can help those with mental health problems to recover and feel better.

On top of all these serious benefits of having dogs, they are also fantastic fun. They always make you laugh, they’re there at the end of a hard day, and they’ll almost always be on hand for a reassuring hug when you need it! 

We hope this article on the lifestyle changes and unexpected benefits of getting a dog was helpful and informative! Persuaded to get a new puppy yet? Take a look at our content for handy guides and tips.