There are many reasons why we decide to adopt dogs. One of the main reasons we bring a pooch home is for companionship. Dogs are able to fill not just our homes, but our lives with happiness and love.
After all, that’s why we call them man’s best friend, right?
However, dogs bring a lot more than just their friendship to the table. In fact, there have been a few studies that prove dogs can not only improve your social life in general, but help your overall health, as well.
What The Studies Tell Us About Dogs And Improved Social Interaction
A study in 2015 revealed dogs can help build human-to-human friendships and social interactions in general.
A collective of researchers at the University of Western Australia, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition surveyed a combination of about 2,700 men and women to see how pets can help people with social connections.
These studies mainly focused on four cities: Perth, Australia; Portland, Oregon; Nashville, Tennessee; and San Diego, California.
The reports revealed that being a dog owner was ranked third in the most common ways to survey respondents met people in their neighborhoods. The first was being neighbors and second was going to local parks.
But dogs can also contribute to these common ways as many parks have areas specifically for dogs. You might have also crossed paths with your neighbor once or twice while walking you dog.
Pet owners were 60 percent more likely than those without pets to meet new people in their communities. Dog owners who walked their dogs were also more likely to have befriended someone they met through pet-related connections.
The Harvard Medical School stated in a blog post, “Dogs can be good ice-breakers, making it easy for humans to start conversations.”
Another study published in the journal of Applied Developmental Science by Megan Mueller, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and research assistant professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, found that not only can dogs help you meet other humans, but they can improve your overall social attitude.
In the study, more than 500 young men and women, ages 18 to 26, were surveyed in regard to their attitude and interaction with animals as well as their general characteristics such as confidence, depression, etc.
They found that those who cared for dogs and other animals were more likely to be involved in their communities and serve leadership roles. They were also more empathetic and confident than those with no dog at home.
Dogs Can Improve Virtually All Aspects Of Life
Of course, whenever we take our dog out for a walk, they are not just helping us with our social life, they are also helping us with our physical health. Increased physical activity, like walking your dog, can help you lose weight and reduce stress.
In the end, having a dog can strengthen our social relationships which can, in turn, improve our mortality rates. A study in 2010 published by Plos One showed that people with stronger social networks had a 50 percent greater likelihood of survival during the seven and a half years of data collection in the study.
So, if you and your pup would like to meet new humans and dogs, grab the leash and head on out for a walk!
What do you think of dogs improving our social lives? Has your dog improved your social life? Let us know in the comments below!