If you’ve got a young family but no canine presence in the home, you are, as they say, “missing a trick”. Since the ancient days of prehistory, dogs have been the closest companion of human beings in the animal world, and the countless stories of dogs and people saving each other from trouble and adding joy to each other’s’ lives should tell you something about the vital ways in which these beloved pets can brighten your household.

There may be certain breeds of dog that are better suited to yours, or your family’s temperament. There may be certain allergy considerations to take into account (keep in mind that some breeds of dog are hypoallergenic). But you should by no means write off purchasing a pooch before you’ve considered the following salient points.

Dogs are almost always boundlessly playful and affectionate

Dogs are, as a rule, about the happiest and most life-affirming creatures you’re ever likely to meet, assuming they’re reasonably young and healthy, cared for, and not from a breed predisposed to violent outbursts.

If you have kids, in particular, you’ll find that dog and child often act as perfect counterpoints to one another. There will be times when your energy levels aren’t quite as high as your child’s, but just watch as kid and dog both bound around the garden together, having the time of their lives.

By no mean is this only a benefit to your child, either. When you return home from a tiring day at work, and you’re feeling a bit jaded about life in general, having an excited dog happy to see you home is bound to make things seem at least a little bit more positive.

Caring for a dog can help your whole family, including your children, get over their own melancholy

We all feel sorry for ourselves at various points in our lives. This applies to children, and to adults. And the most upsetting thing is that sometimes we have good reason to feel sorry for ourselves, but nonetheless, wallowing in misery and despair takes a terrible toll.

There’s a well developed psychological idea that when people are taking care of others, they are better able to let their own pain and sorrow take a backseat for a while, at least to an extent. This, in turn, lessens the pain and creates a vision of sunlight peeking from behind the cloud.

Your dog can serve this role for the whole family. No matter how you feel, your dog counts on you for food, for exercise, for companionship. Bringing home a tartan dog bed to make your pet more comfortable is likely to help your mood at least slightly.

A dog can be great for encouraging you to get some extra exercise

As mentioned above, dogs are energetic pets, and they need a lot of attention. Not only will you need to play with your dog at least semi-frequently, but you’ll certainly need to take it for walks as well.

If you don’t move around enough during the day, this is the kind of thing that can serve as a powerful motivating factor to get significantly more exercise and live a more active life in general.