Why dogs are the most lovable animals on the planet

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Owning a dog is good for our minds, bodies, hearts and souls. In praise of the pooch, here are the ways we love them.

Dog lovers don’t need any convincing about why their canine companions are the be all and end all. Adorable, lovable, faithful, constant – they’re perfection with four legs and wagging tail.

In honour of National Dog Day on August 26, we list our top reasons why dogs are simply the best. 

1. They’re incredibly loyal
The internet is overflowing with stories about the loyalty of dogs – like the faithful pooch in Brazil  that followed his homeless owner in an ambulance for so long that the ambulance crew eventually brought him aboard for the rest of the trip to the hospital. It’s hard to top the legend of Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Bobby, however: in the 19th century, the Skye Terrier spent 14 years watching over the grave of his late beloved owner until he himself passed away in 1872. 

2. They love us unconditionally
When our partners are cranky or our kids are in a ‘mood’, there’s nothing quite as heart-warming as a dog’s wagging tail to let us know that someone loves us no matter what. And, after a long day at work, to be greeted at the front door with such enthusiasm and eagerness is the perfect tonic for the slightly battered heart and soul.

3. They’re good for our mental health
There’s more and more evidence that pets are good for our psychological health. Studies have found that when a person interacts with a friendly, familiar dog, their blood pressure goes down, their heart rate slows, breathing becomes more regular and muscle tension relaxes – all signs of reduced stress.

Read more: Why pets are good for your health

4. They’re brimming with joy

Dogs know how to have fun. Watching a pooch chase a ball or run for a stick or leap into a muddy puddle is an object lesson in pure unadulterated joy. And who doesn’t need a little more joy in their life? It’s a good reminder for us to not sweat the small stuff, to be present where we are – and to do things that make us feel happy.

5. They keep us fit
About 150 minutes a week of moderately intensive physical activity will help improve our blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart health and muscle and bone strength. That’s all good news for dog owners committed to walking their pooch daily – or at least several times a week. A Canadian study found that dog owners are more likely to do mild-to-moderate physical exercise than non-dog owners, walking an average of 300 minutes a week compared to non-dog owners, who only managed 168 minutes weekly.

Action Plan: 4 weeks to getting fitter with your dog

6. They’re entertaining
Your Rex or Tulip might not be a skateboarding British bulldog  or a chihuahua that can do the downward dog yoga pose, but dogs can be infinitely amusing. Whether it’s as simple as chasing their tails in ever-decreasing circles or being outwitted by the neighbour’s cat, our four-legged pals are the cheapest – and best – show in town.

7. They’re great company

Nothing beats a night on the couch with your pooch in your lap (small breeds), curled up beside you (medium ones) or keeping your feet warm (the behemoths). As companions go, they’re pretty hard to beat.

So even if you’ve missed National Dog Day, be sure to show your perfect animal companion that you love them just as much as they love you.

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