If you you’re planning on getting a new shaggy-hairy family member the coming holiday, we would suggest you to consider a dog. Allegiant, protective, and always excited to see you back, dogs have been a human friend for over eighteen thousand years now, making them one the first and oldest animals to ever be domesticated.

Don’t take any body’s word for it. Scientists do have proof that dogs keep us energetic and positive more than other human companions on average, entertain us more than cats, but also cut down our chances of getting depressed. If you need some additional convincing for yourself or someone else in the house, here some solid facts you could use as why you should be owning a dog.

1. Our Dogs Entertain Us

Dogs entertains us
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According to a Society & Animals journal study, people who own a dog laugh more.

In the study, researchers asked people who own a dog, a cat, both or neither and taped how frequently they laugh during a day. The people with dogs or with dogs and cats were recorded to be laughing more often than the other two groups.

2. Dogs Are Very Loyal

Dogs are very loyal
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The roots of today’s domesticated dogs go to between as far as 18,800 and 32,100 years back, when they evolved from their ancestors; the wolves. Wolves have this style of living in packs and maintaining strong relationships between group members. It’s from this pack demeanor where dogs actually got their loyalty today.

A science advisor at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Stephen Zawistowski, explains that human owners are seen by their dogs as members of the pack, and hence, maintain solid bonds with them the same way as they behave with their fellow members.

3. Dogs Make Us More Social

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A group of researchers at the University of Bristol and the University of Liverpool in the UK conducted a study in which it was reported that UK dog owners were more likely to run into other people with their dogs than people who did not own one. It makes sense as dog owners are actually more likely to go out for a walk, and more likely to meet other people with their pet while on a promenade.

Furthermore, American people are more likely to own a dog than any other house pet. That means more potential people to chat with about bizarre dog behavior, funny dog postures, and trending life hacks for dogs.

4. Our Dogs Keep Us Healthy

Dogs keeps us healthy
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Dogs might as well help us keep in good health condition. Kids, for example, who are born into families owning a dog run a low risk of allergies and asthma. The reason for that being dust.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences released a study last year when it was revealed that mice develop, when exposed to dust in homes where dogs are allowed in, they develop a sort of altered microbe community in their intestines that supports their protection against allergens. They explain that this community of microbes might be what keeps children from developing allergens in houses where dogs are permitted in.

5. We Are More Dynamic And Active With Dogs

Dogs make more dynamic and active
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Nowadays, obesity has become a big issue in so many nations, so it’s of major importance to go on exercises regularly. A team of scientists at Michigan State University pointed out in a report published in 2011 that around 60 percent of pet owners who walked their dogs on a regular basis simulated regular moderate or vigorous exercise.

Furthermore, elders who go on walks with their dog are actually on a more regular exercising and better apt physically than elders who go on walking with other people, explains Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services in a 2010 study.

6. Dogs Save Lives Also

dogs save lives
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Dogs may not bet cat’s closest friends, but in early 2014, one cat in the state of Florida was so lucky when it got saved by a blood transfusion from a dog donor. Some dogs are actually universal blood donors, just like some humans are, so when no cat blood was available around, the vet used what he had – a dog’s blood – which ultimately saved the cat’s life.

Dogs are also able to help people who have health issues like seizures by barking and giving an early warning for their owners. Well trained dogs can actually sense the oncoming of a seizure before it happens by up to 15 minutes and will start barking when it happens, which gives the patient a warning to sit or take the necessary precautions to prevent any eventual injury. How dogs are able to sense an imminent seizure is however still unclear.

7. Dogs Give Us A Better Sense Of Purpose

Dogs give a better sense of purpose
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Dogs make great friends for anyone, but make even greater friends for the elderly. The Journal of Social Psychology reported in a study that elderly dog owners are actually feeling better satisfied with their emotional, social, and physical state than elderly who do not own a dog.

8. Dogs make Us More Confident

Dogs make us more confident
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In a different study where people have acquired a dog and were asked ten months later about their life with the new pet friend, the participants recorded, in general, an improved exercise routine, a better sense of self-esteem, and less crime fear.

9. Dogs Give Us Genuine Happiness

dogs give genuine happiness
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Even just looking at our furry friend in the eyes can make us happy as the act releases a feeling-good chemical that is called Oxytocin. It was reported, in a study that was focused on Oxytocin levels from two different dog owners groups, that the group who had regular eye contact with their dogs had a higher Oxytocin level than the other group which was given instructions not to look directly at their pet’s eyes.

In another study, it was revealed that dog owners who relied on their pets for better social life described that “they were less depressed, less lonely, had higher self-esteem, were happier, and tended to experience less perceived stress”.

Dog Responsibility

Owning a four-legged companion maybe a great life experience, however, you would want to be aware and ready for the responsibility that comes with. Before acquiring a dog, you could actually consider accommodating one for few weeks, that way you could get to experience what kind of schedule you will have to be maintaining.