You’ve probably heard that pets are good for your health and help you live a longer, happier life. A recent study actually showed that having a dog is better for your health than owning a cat. Pets of all kinds, especially dogs, make a great addition to almost any family.

Getting plenty of exercise is essential to leading a healthy lifestyle, but some of us don’t get up and move as much as we should. While most people have every intention of following and exercise plan, they end up skipping workouts because they’re busy, bored by them, or just not in the mood. This is where having a dog is great. What better motivator to get up and move do you have than a dog that jumps on your lap or gives you the sad face because they want to go for a walk? If you have the responsibility of a dog, you’re going to have the motivation to move more often (especially if you don’t have a fenced yard).

Touch can help make us feel more comfortable and relaxed, but it doesn’t have to be human touch. Studies have shown that the simple act of petting and animal can help reduce tension and cause an immediate drop in blood pressure. That’s a great benefit to have when so many common disorders today are preventable by reducing stress. Imagine being able to have lower blood pressure and less risk of heart disease simply by having your dog there. Of course, you should also consider that in some cases dogs can also raise your stress levels; a great reason to start rigorous dog training early.

Just like dogs, humans are social creatures. We feel better when there’s someone else with us and get lonely and upset when we’re alone for extended period’s of time. Having a pet at home can give us the feelings of love and attention. Plus, pets aren’t like people, they don’t care if we didn’t do our chores, they show unconditional love that can improve mood and make us feel more accepted. Dogs are so good at making people feel loved; they’re often used to treat people with depression. It’s hard to feel down when there’s a constant smiling face by your side. The companionship of a dog is so beneficial that older people who live alone and have pets live longer than those who live alone and don’t have pets.

So if you’re thinking of getting a dog, but you’re on the fence, remember that dogs can help you get fit, and make you feel less stressed or lonely. Studies have shown dog owners get sick less, recover faster, and even live longer. Dogs are a great loyal friend to keep around.