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5 Benefits of Having & Owning a Dog – Can It Save You Money and Your Health?

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My husband and I were joking around the other day that we could save money on our water bill by letting our dogs lick our plates clean when we were done eating. While I certainly do not want my dogs finishing my dinner, it got me thinking about the many ways that our dogs do save us money.

I can’t say that we definitely save more than we spend, because dogs are expensive (although there are still ways to save money on pets). For instance, there’s the cost of buying or adopting a pet, feeding healthy dog food, grooming, toys and health care fees at the vet, just for starters. However, the potential for savings is more than meets the eye.

Here are 5 ways that owning a dog can save you money:

1. Your Physical Health
Owning a dog could potentially save you thousands of dollars on gym classes and medical bills – it could even save your life. Depending on breed, your dog probably requires a good amount of exercise, and who better to exercise with than you? Even the tiniest of dogs need to be walked, but you can also take your dog with you when you go running, hiking, swimming or biking. This will allow you to get in better shape, lose weight fast, and lower your blood pressure. I have two dogs that love to play with each other, but they also love to play with my husband and me. I get worn out just chasing them around the backyard!

2. Your Emotional Health
In addition to improving your physical health, dogs and other pets have been shown to be great for stress management and relief, which in turn reduces medical expenses for stress-related illnesses and even extends lifespan. Owning an animal can also decrease your level of loneliness, especially if you live by yourself or are home alone often. When I first quit my job to become a stay-at-home mom, I loved having my dogs around because I never felt all alone with the baby. Somehow it made me feel more comfortable. There is also something uplifting about an animal that loves you unconditionally. Having a dog can greatly improve your mood and alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder or depression, if you are a sufferer.

3. Home Security
I don’t think that anyone would ever rob my house because my dogs sound so vicious. They are actually very sweet and loving, but they get very excited and protective if a stranger comes to the door. Studies have shown that potential burglars are put off by barking dogs. Home security systems can cost thousands of dollars to install plus monthly fees. Using your dogs as your home security system can be a great savings, and help prevent home burglary and break ins.

4. Entertainment
Dogs are a lot of fun. I think my husband and I have more laughs because of our dogs than anything else. My baby is amused and occupied more by the dogs than his toys. There are also so many (free) activities that you can do with your dog or because you have a dog. One of our favorite places to go on the weekends is to the dog park. It is something we can do as a family and meet up with our other friends who have dogs. Learning how to train dogs is also a fun, challenging and very rewarding activity.

5. Learning Responsibility
You never know what you can learn from owning a dog or pet, but one of the most valuable lessons is responsibility. Dogs require a lot of care; they need to be fed, walked, played with and trained. It takes discipline and self-motivation, life skills that have applications in all areas of life, including money management. The lessons that you learn from a dog are priceless, and you never know, they might just help you succeed in life and in your career!

How has owning a dog saved you money and added to your life? How much do you think you’ve saved as a result?

Casey Slide
Casey Slide lives with her husband and baby in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and worked for a prominent hospital in Atlanta. With the birth of Casey’s son in February 2010, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Casey’s interests include reading, running, living green, and saving money.

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