Should Dogs be Allowed to Adopt People: Benefits of Owning a Dog

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Kimberly Gauthier at Keep the Tail Wagging recently posted an article with a controversial title, Should Overweight People be Allowed to Adopt Dogs? This thoughtful piece, while extolling the benefits of exercising a pet properly, also emphasized that we should not be quick to judge others. It also gave me the idea that I should write a similar piece with the roles reversed, from the perspective of a dog and whether or not they should be allowed to ‘adopt’ a human.


Pet Obesity and Human Obesity in the U.S.

As we have reported in the past, pet obesity is a major problem in the U.S.   According to the 2013 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), almost 53% of dogs and 58% of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Perhaps even worse, 17% of all dogs and a whopping 26% of all cats are considered obese.


No doubt this is a big and costly problem. Overweight pets live shorter lives, have lower quality of life, and often require expensive medical care that they might otherwise not need. My back of the envelope calculation suggests that owners of overweight dogs will spend around $8 billion each year on extra food and medical costs as a result of having fat pets. Yet, the problem is worse for us humans. According to the CDC, almost 70% of US adults are overweight or obese, and about 35% are obese. Ouch!  From a dog’s perspective, there is about a 70% chance that their human will be overweight.


Benefits of Owning a Dog?

With those sobering statistics in mind, let’s take a look at the ‘hardship’ that a dog might bring to its human.


Improved fitness

Let’s face it, humans with dogs will have a lot less time to be lazy couch potatoes and will be ‘forced’ to be more active.   Several studies show that dogs can be effective motivators to get people moving. Dog owners are more likely to take regular walks and are generally more active overall than people who don’t have dogs.

A Canadian study revealed that dog owners spent more time in mild and moderate physical activities and walked an average of 300 minutes per week compared to non–dog owners who walked an average of 168 minutes per week.


A study of 41,500 California residents found that dog owners were about 60 percent more likely to walk for leisure than people who owned a cat or no pet at all. That translated to an extra 19 minutes a week of walking compared with people without dogs.


Improved overall health

Humans with dogs will likely spend a lot less time at the doctor’s office and the pharmacy. Darn dogs! Studies show that owning a dog can help a human with a variety of health issues. For example, one study found that New York stockbrokers who owned pets had lower blood pressure in stressful situations than their petless counterparts.


Other studies have shown that pet owners might have reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels for improved cardiovascular health.


Improved mood

Humans with pets will likely spend less time frowning or scowling, and more time smiling. What horror!   As reported on WebMd, studies show that animals can reduce tension and improve mood. Along with treatment, pets can help some people with mild to moderate depression feel better.  Anecdotally, pets can reduce our feelings of loneliness and isolation by providing companionship. And they make us laugh or smile several times a day, often when we need to the most.


The evidence is overwhelming that a dog (or cat) can have a significant impact on a human’s life. The question is, should they be allowed to make that impact given the ‘hardships’ that they will invoke on their human.


I think we all know the answer to that question 😉

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  1. Well, I am living proof that adopting a dog can not only improve a humans health but change their life for the best. Nine months after I adopted Tynan, I sent a Christmas card to the shelter thanking them for the workout partner who inspired me to loose weight and get in shape. My rediscovery of my love of fitness also promoted a career change that is still where I am – as a fitness professional! Thank you Tynan. Thank you so much.
    Bethany recently posted…Dog Walking App Extravaganza #DogWalkingWeekMy Profile

  2. We couldn’t agree more. We keep mom in shape even though she thinks she’s the one taking us for a walk. Walking with us is mom’s favorite way to bond. Have a great day!
    Miley’s Daily Scoop recently posted…Selecting and Transitioning to an All-Natural Dog Food #PawNaturalMy Profile

  3. I read recently that only 58% of Americans walk their dogs every day. I wonder how crazy and neurotic their dogs must be spending all their time indoors or in the backyard. Regardless of the health benefits of walking and hiking, it just feels good.

    I wonder what people have against having fun. 🙂
    Pamela recently posted…Where’s The Puppy?My Profile

  4. Sadly my grandparents are the living proof for point #1. since they lost their dog they haven’t the “obligation” to walk and to be outside and sadly the result is visible now… hope they will like the hiking equipment my mom will buy them for christmas :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog SMILING FRIDAYMy Profile

  5. Dogs and cats are beneficial for humans, but dogs do more for health because they force people to go outside, get up and do things. We think dogs are an excellent idea for people as they become a partner. Some folks just stay on the couch and let their dog out of a minute and return to their couch and their dogs are overweight and unhealthy, but odds are that a dog will motivate the humans to lose weight.
    Emma recently posted…5 Important Little Extras For Your Dog #GetHealthyHappyMy Profile

  6. Another health fact I love is that pets improve our immune system through biodiversity. There are some cool studies showing that children who grow up with pets have a more robust immune system.

  7. The ways in which dogs are beneficial are endless. They are truly amazing animals. I would like to think that although Kilo was placed in foster with me he would have chose it on his own.

  8. Hi Y’all!

    Oh I drag my Humans out hiking whenever they don’t have a appointment someplace and can steal time for me…assuming weather permits, of course.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Fun! Fitness! Friday! SMILE Y’ALL!My Profile

  9. I have very good blood pressure considering I deal with Delilah. LOL They really do keep a person sharp!
    Jodi recently posted…Follow-Up Friday – October 3, 2014My Profile

  10. I will completely agree with everything said and add that for us fostering a dog further increases the human’s exercise level. Since we have started fostering Steeler, a little pit mix adolescent, we have increased our weekly hiking mileage. Last weekend we covered 18 miles with all the dogs. Veruca, the tripawed one, only covered 8. But it was a good 8.
    Mark at DBDT recently posted…Veruca hikes Beaver Meadow Trail, VTMy Profile

  11. My dog definitely keeps me more active. Just taking him out four times a day is even a lot because we have to go down a flight of stairs and walk through a courtyard to get to the grass. That adds up each week/month/year. Plus, we obviously do our other walks for exercise.
    Lindsay recently posted…Would you spy on your pet sitter with a nanny cam?My Profile

  12. It is so, so true. I dread to think how many extra pounds I’d have if I didn’t have dogs. Not to mention how much more time I’d spend sitting at the computer instead of being outside in the fresh air. Getting a puppy even steps it up one more notch….not that that’s for everyone! 🙂
    Jan K recently posted…Shifting Gears: From Swimming to #DogWalkingWeekMy Profile

  13. I think before we adopted Mr. N, I might have gone to two or three parks in Portland. Now, I think we’ve been to at least half. And we have a lot of parks!

  14. If those are the hardships, give me a prescription for three canids 😉 If I didn’t have my three furkids, I know I’d be a serious couch potato. They keep me busy and they keep me active and I love it!
    Tiffany’s Diamond Dogs recently posted…World Smile DayMy Profile

  15. I love the reversal idea; to think of it as a hardship really makes you think about what dogs actually DO for us. They are the best motivators in the world – I have never had a dog not want to go out and do something active – they’re always up for anything. And of course if it’s a habit they’ll make sure to keep you updated if you don’t get to that walk on time. I have no doubt in my mind I would be much less active if I didn’t have a dog, her well being is my responsibility. Pamela’s comment about only 58% of people walking their dogs ONCE a day is really shocking.
    Jen Gabbard recently posted…12 Shelter Dogs Smiling After Being AdoptedMy Profile

  16. Such an impawtant post!!! I am not allowed to miss any walks in my house BOL! My huskies let me know!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Parading puppy picsMy Profile

  17. Not walk your dog everyday? I know it’s done, I have neighbors all around me who don’t – but to me it’s hard to comprehend. We walk everyday – no matter what the weather – it’s one of our favorite moments together, can’t imagine not allowing Harley his adventures…. Loved the post, can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for National Obesity Day (Oct 8th). Have a great weekend, Harley and I are headed out to explore some more….

  18. I’m trying really hard to get my peeps fit, but it’s a constant battle against their laziness!
    Misaki recently posted…Bella’s birthdayMy Profile

  19. We’re so lucky to have the property that we have and J spent the past few years making it perfect for our dogs. There are hills, flat areas, and tons of things to sniff and explore. We open the door and walk around our property with our dogs, playing fetch, practicing recall, and talking about our day on a dialy basis. All it takes is 30 minutes and when we can, we do this 2 or 3 times a day. I tracked our steps and one loop around our property is a little more than 1/2 mile.

    Once a week, I go on a pack walk with a friend. And I try to get together with another friend once a month at the dog park with the puppies. And there’s a rumor that there’s morning walking at the mall and we can bring our dogs!!! So when the weather gets too bad, we can go to the mall! I love having zero excuses.

    Thanks for the mention.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Freelance Friday | Spend 5 Minutes in a Dog Owner’s MindMy Profile

  20. Fantastic POst yet again. Ticks all my boxes & will be sharing. Great job guys 🙂
    Paws and Pedals (Scooter & Kate) recently posted…The BIG UpdateMy Profile

  21. I think gman picked me because no one else would put up with his antics, lol. I walk more because of my pets because they make me feel safer when I walk with them then walking alone.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Wordless Wednesday~Some Privacy Please!My Profile

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