The benefits of getting a puppy are that they:
- Make great companions
- You’ll likely get more exercise
- Can boost your physical and mental health
- Help you develop a routine
- There are a variety of breeds to choose from
- Are adorable
- Entertaining to watch and play with
- Watching your puppy grow into an adult dog can be very rewarding
Adopting a puppy isn’t for everyone, and you should weigh your options before adopting.
Today I’ll dig into some of the benefits of having a puppy, but I encourage you to look into the disadvantages as well before making your decision.
Puppies are hard work and take a time commitment that many people simply do not have. For instance, single people working full-time jobs should not adopt a puppy.
In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits of adopting a puppy and whether you should adopt from a shelter, rescue, or breeder.
One of the biggest reasons people adopt dogs is for companionship. We want a buddy to go on jogs, cuddle up on the couch, or hang out in the back yard with.
Maybe you’re living alone and feel lonely, or maybe you have children and you want them to grow up with a furry friend by their side.
Puppies are there through it all, they’re loyal, and they make a great addition to the family.
2. Exercise and Physical Health
Adopting a puppy is the push some people need to get exercising. With a puppy, you’ll have no choice but to exercise them every day. This’ll also have you up and moving!
Puppies need a ton of short play sessions while young, when their energy comes in short bursts between naps.
As they get older, most dog breeds need at least 1-2 daily walks as well as playtime to keep them fit and healthy.
Of course, you can choose a breed that best fits your energy levels. If you love running, you can choose a high-energy breed. If you’re more of a couch potato, select a lap dog that needs less exercise.
Dog owners also tend to be more physically healthy. One theory as to why is the increase in exercise that I talked about above.
Walking every day is just as good for you as it is for your pup, and some people see a real boost in activity after adopting a puppy.
I know for me, I love walking but don’t enjoy taking a walk by myself. I’m much more likely to go when I have someone with me—like my pup, Charlie!
Other reasons dog owners are healthier may be that healthier people are more prone to dog adoption. Dog owners may also have more money, and thus be better able to take care of their health.
We don’t have all the answers, but we do know that there’s a correlation!
3. Mental Health
Dog ownership also tends to correlate to better mental health. Just like with physical health, we don’t know for sure why this is.
People with better mental health may be in a better situation to adopt.
Puppies are also associated with things that we know aid mental health, such as companionship, exercise, and routine.
Anecdotally, I’ve seen many people who suffer from mental health problems cite their pup as the reason they get up in the mornings. It can be easier to get up and moving when you have a pet who depends on you.
Puppies and dogs in general absolutely thrive on routine. They like to eat, walk, and go to sleep at the same times every day.
This allows your pup to know what to expect and makes for a smoother day to day life. It also ensures that you do everything your puppy needs right from the start, and won’t forget to feed them a meal or walk them.
With my dog Charlie, I’ve noticed that if something fun happens, he’s immediately looking for when we’re going to do it again. For instance, if we play a fun game one morning, he’ll be waiting to do it again the next morning.
Some dogs also learn to expect things on specific days of the week. Charlie goes to the dog park on Sunday mornings and he’s always wide awake and pacing the house, trying to round up the family and herd someone to the car to drive him!
Of course, having a set routine benefits humans as well. Sometimes adopting a puppy can help you set a routine, or a puppy may be a good pet for you if they fit into your already scheduled routine well.
For instance, maybe you want to run in the mornings but want a companion. If your friends and family don’t want to wake up so early, you can bet a puppy would love to join you!
Some puppies, such as those bred as guard dogs, provide added safety for you and your family once they’re fully grown.
Others may make you feel more secure. I know I personally always feel safer with a dog in the house.
While my Black Labrador isn’t a guard dog, he does have a loud and deep bark that frightens some people. Even if he wouldn’t hurt a fly, no one else knows that!
Dogs like this may keep intruders away.
Even smaller dogs can alarm you to suspicious activity by barking if someone’s on your property, for instance. While they might not be able to stop a burglar, they could still provide a safety benefit by acting as your alarm system.
Of course, we can’t forget how cute puppies are!
While this isn’t a reason to adopt a puppy on its own, it sure is a nice bonus. Who doesn’t love watching puppy videos online, after all?
Watching a puppy explore the world, learn new things, and cuddle against you at the end of a long day are all super adorable.
One of my favorite things about the summer since adopting my dog is to watch him sniff flowers in the garden. He’ll go all the way around the flower bed checking out all the smells.
He always moves before I can get a picture—but maybe one day I’ll be able to capture it!
Along with that cuteness comes a lot of entertainment. Watching puppies play is something I could do for hours, and playing with them is even more fun!
Puppies are super funny, too. Because they’re still learning so much about the world around them, they can do even basic things in silly, unexpected ways.
8. Watch them Grow
One of the most rewarding things about having a puppy is getting to watch them grow into an adult dog. You get to see how their behaviors and appearance change over time.
Their personality will develop and start to shine through as well.
Puppies grow so fast, you’ll be shocked if you take photos to document their growth. Before you know it they’ll look completely different to when you brought them home that first day.
A great thing about puppies is that there are so many breeds. Whether you’re a super active person or someone who likes to live more slow-paced, there’s likely to be a dog breed that suits your lifestyle.
There are puppies bred to work on farms herding animals, to be low-activity lap dogs, swim in water, and so many more things.
This makes it difficult to make generalizations about puppies, since their personalities, size, bodies, and needs can be so different from one another.
Some dogs have long, gorgeous fur, while others are hairless. Some are bred to shed minimally, while others (like mine!) leave fur on everything they touch.
It goes without saying that this also makes it super important to do your research before adopting!
Adopting a puppy from a Shelter or Rescue
While many people adopt puppies from breeders, not everyone knows that you can find adoptable puppies in shelters or rescues.
In my opinion, this is a better option due to the amount of dogs euthanized yearly. If you can save a life, why not do so?
Of course, you don’t have to adopt from a rescue or shelter. But if it interests you, it’s definitely something to look into.
Even purebreds can be found in shelters and rescue groups if you keep your eyes open. If you have a particular breed in mind, do some research into how common it is and if there are any breed-specific rescues in your area that can help you find your perfect match.
When I adopted my dog, he was ten months old—an older puppy, but still just a baby. He’s a black Labrador mix, but I’ve met professional veterinarians and trainers who’ve asked if I’m sure he isn’t purebred!
I saw at least 3 other dogs in the same shelter that looked like him, too. With very common breeds like labs, it’s even easier to find a rescue pup who’s exactly what you’re looking for.
How to Find Reputable Breeders
It’s incredibly important to adopt from a reputable breeder, and that means doing your research.
Adopting from a pet store or someone on a site like Craigslist often leads to support of puppy mills. In puppy mills, puppies are bred in high volume and entirely for profit. The way they do this is cruel and an inhumane way of breeding dogs.
Puppies from puppy mills can also come with many health problems and sometimes live very short lives due to poor breeding practices.
A reputable breeder should always allow you to:
- See the place the puppy has been raised
- Meet the puppy’s parents
- Look at veterinary records for the puppy and their parents
- Answer any questions you have about the breed with 100% honesty
Responsible adopters will also always ask these questions. You should turn away if the breeder denies you any of the above or you see any red flags. For instance, if the dogs are being kept in an unsuitable environment.
Another big red flag is if your breeder cannot tell you the health problems associated with the breed or says there aren’t any at all. Breeders should know about the type of dog they’re breeding in order to do so responsibly, and there is no breed out there that’s without its problems.
It can be easy to be swept up by wanting a cute puppy, especially after you see them. Some people even wonder if it’s actually bad to adopt from puppy mills. After all, those dogs need homes too—right?
While this is true, giving money to a puppy mill ensures that more puppies and dogs will be bred by them. The only way to end them is to take away their funding.
By helping one pup, you would pay for the suffering of many more.
If you’d like to help a puppy from a mill, the best way to do so is to adopt from a rescue or shelter that’s saved dogs from that situation. That way you can help the puppy without funding them.
Writer: Katelynn Sobus