August is National Dog Ownership Month and it’s a great time to celebrate the canine companions in your life.

There are many reasons why having a dog in your life can be such a joy. The love between a dog and its human is a special relationship that can brighten a stressful day or make an already good day great.

Dogs are loyal, trustworthy companions who bring joy to our lives but there are more benefits to dog ownership than simply the relationship.

1. Dogs make you happier. Spending 20 minutes a day with your dog is a great stress reliever. Playing with your dog increases the serotonin and dopamine levels in your system, boosting your tranquility and happiness.

2. Dogs encourage a better fitness routine: Dogs love going for walks, playing fetch and working out with their owners. Dog ownership increases the likelihood that you will get up from the couch and enjoy a good walk.

3. Decreases cardiovascular disease: Multiple studies confirm owning a dog will assist in lowering your blood pressure, which will help promote long-term heart health.

4. Make your home more secure: Dogs are hypervigilant and protective of their humans. A dog in the home – even a small one – can serve as another level of security as their heightened sense of sound and smell will help them notice a possible intruder. Most burglars will move on if they hear a dog is in the home.

5. Dogs are great for your family: Not only do dogs make great companions for your children, they teach children to be thoughtful of others, of responsibility and they help keep your kids happy and active. Dogs are also good for your children’s skin and allergies. Children who grow up with dogs in the home are less likely to suffer from eczema and pet allergies.

6. They are empathetic companions: With their heightened senses, dogs are keenly aware of the master’s mood. They develop a remarkable sense of human emotion, verbal language and body language. They know when you need a little pick up or a cuddle.