9 Benefits of Owning a Dog for Busy Shift Workers

The powerful connection between human and dog that is unlike any human relationship.

They don’t bicker, talk back or even judge after we do something stupid like forgetting our lunchbox on night shift.

Both a Man and Shift Workers Best Friend- 9 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog - The Other Shift

Don’t you think it’s a funny coincidence that man’s best friend doesn’t speak?

Dogs seem to be the unselfish ones, requiring only love, and maybe the odd walk and food treats in return! The rapport is so strong between us and dogs, you often see our beds being shared with them well before our partner!

The health benefits of owning a dog are life-changing, even before we have completed any research! But it’s nice to know that animal and mental health experts are finally catching up. 

More and more articles are being publishing that proves our feelings and the positive health impacts towards dogs and that’s exactly what we want to show you.

Some of you shift workers may be worried about the logistics of owning a dog and rightly so. We cover that topic here, but for now, let’s explore the 10 incredible health benefits of owning a dog.

Both a Man and Shift Workers Best Friend- 10 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog - Black dog smiling

Benefits of Owning a Dog #1 – Greatest Companion

People are not always available when we need, as life tends to keep us busy. This is particularly true for shift workers due to the hours we work. But to a dog, you are their life.

They rely on you for food, water, shelter and love and this relationship is unbreakable.

Furthermore, each dog comes with his or her own personality, which can be very entertaining and distract you from the serious real world.

Benefits of Owning a Dog #2 – They Love You Unconditionally

Love from a dog is uncomplicated unlike our human relationships, which are complex and multilayered. Regardless of the shift you’ve had or events occurring around the world like economic collapse, financial hardship, natural disasters and human heartbreaks, your dog is always there.

Even if you did leave them enclosed in their cage for most of the day, they will instantly forget once they see you, due to their horrible short-term memory.

Greeting you in the same, excited way every day with absolute certainty never gets old!

Both a Man and Shift Workers Best Friend- 9 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog - The Other Shift-Pug

Benefits of Owning a Dog #3 – Dogs Encourage Consistent Exercise Regardless of Bad Weather or Crappy Situations During Shifts

How can you not fall for those puppy eyes at the door with the lead in their mouth? No matter how tired and exhausted you are from a shift, most dogs want to walk, run and explore their surroundings.

Even the lazier, but gorgeous breeds of dogs, like a Great Dane, enjoy a short walk. Their joy and need for exercise to release energy also encourage us to get moving too.

Your dog is actually preventing you from gaining weight and encourages movement to prevent chronic disease, so no more saying no to a walk!  

10 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog group on people plying outside with dog - The Other Shift

Benefits of Owning a Dog #4- They Improve Shift Workers

Studies are confirming what we had suspected for years. Owning a dog can lead to a healthier heart! They positively impact on lowering blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol.

Maybe it’s the exercise, decreased stress levels and sense of purpose?

Whatever the reason, owning a dog leads to lower mortality in the general population and decreased the risk of heart complications in a single person household.

Benefits of Owning a Dog #5- Decrease Feelings of Loneliness

Coming home to an empty, dark house after a second shift can be lonely and even a little creepy, but never when you own a dog.

There is no need to be scared when home alone due to their incredible sense of hearing and detection of unusual noises.

You will never eat alone again or celebrate Christmas morning by yourself without the company of your dog.

Dogs also help share your shift working routine which can be ideal for those shift workers living alone and they will always listen to your stories, even when they’re boring! 

Man sitting the grass

Benefits of Owning a Dog #6 – Give You a Sense of Purpose

Owning and caring for a dog comes with responsibility. They need to be walked regularly, fed daily and to be loved and accepted as part of the family.

This gives you purpose, value and a sense of achievement and also makes you feel appreciated and needed. Is it safe to say not all workplaces provide you this kind of satisfaction?

Benefits of Owning a Dog #7 – Dogs Help Your Kids in More Ways Than One

Studies show that owning a dog and exposing them, even your newborn, to a much-loved canine can result in a reduced chance of eczema and wheezing by strengthening their immune system.

Secondly, owning a dog also teaches your kids about responsibility and development of strong lifelong, compassionate habits. But just be aware as the adult, you will still be the primary carer as much as your kids say they will be! 

Benefits of Owning a Dog #8 – Encourages Socialisation as They Will Never Cancel Plans With You

“You wouldn’t believe the crazy stuff my dog did this weekend!” Can you think of an easier conversation starter?

Most dogs love being around other dogs to explore new smells and different environments, which is also great for your social interaction too.

Have you been to the dog park lately? I recently visited one (for the first time!) and it’s buzzing with people all with a similar interest. Date idea anyone? I’ll add this to the 5 Impressive Date Ideas for Those Working Opposite Shifts blog post.

If you’re looking to meet new people or a prospective new partner consider visiting:

Outdoor cafes: Cute guy or girl drinking coffee while sitting outside at a café with an even more adorable dog? You’ll be a magnet for conversation and probably the coolest person at the café. Some places even often dog treats on the menu and will supply water bowls.

Online: Exploring popular pet-focused, social networking sites like Dogster.com, Catster.com and Petpop.com could provide an instant, fun way to trade tips, tricks and more.

Both a Man and Shift Workers Best Friend- 10 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog - Women at cafe dog

Benefits of Owning a Dog #9- Decrease Stress, Anxiety and PTSD

Anybody who has ever patted a dog knows the happiness and instant stress relief felt but research now proves it. Simply patting your pooch for 15 – 30 minutes leads to a decrease in our stress hormone cortisol and activates other feel-good hormones likes serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. (source)

Is this why more health facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are including dog therapy into their care?

My Aussie workplace has even established a ‘bring a dog to work day’ and it is has improved the mental health of staff significantly. You can read about it here.

Other studies have suggested that individuals living with a long-term mental illness, have improved symptoms of anxiety and stress by owning or being regularly exposed to dogs.

Further studies have also shown that stressed out university students who attended a therapy dog session showed significantly less stress and feelings of negativity.

Lastly, owning a service dog helps symptoms of PTSD and improving resilience in those brave military, war veterans.

The connection between human and dog is palpable and now it seems it’s measurable too.

Dogs have been an integral part of our lives as shift workers and continue to give us joy to this day, even if it’s via the webcam! Meet the furry members of our family (past a present)!

10 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog - Oscar - The Other Shift
10 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog - The Other Shift Nelson

Our family’s dogs Oscar and Nelson, who have now sadly passed

10 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog - The Other Shift Golide and Charlie

Dan’s family dog Charlie on the left and his much loved late Goldie on the right

Summary: 9 Benefits of Owning a Dog for Busy Shift Workers

If you own a dog or are thinking about it, remember it shouldn’t be a rash decision despite these incredible health benefits. It can mean big changes and swings in your daily life and this requires careful consideration as they are dependent on you.

However, they also give you an increased purpose and significant value. Sure dogs can bring some stress into your life if they continue to eat your shoes and ruin your garden, but the good far out ways the bad.

What do you think about owning a dog as a shift worker? Please feel free to leave me a comment below the article!

If you need more pet blogs, check this one out – Best Pets For Shift Workers, That Don’t Crave Your Attention


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Emma @ The Other Shift

Hey there! I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. Together with my husband Daniel, we run The Other Shift. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. I understand the challenges of fitting in exercise, maintaining relationships and getting enough quality sleep, but I'm excited to show you that it’s possible to do shift work and still thrive. Read more about us and our story here.

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