Your dog really is helping you be more healthy

A Chihuahua dog waits inside a Trabant 601 car as fans of the East German Trabant car gather for their 7th annual get-together on August 23, 2014 in Zwickau, Germany.
| Credit: Matthias Rietschel / Getty Images

Well, it's official: life really is better with dogs.

According to BarkBox's recent Dog Parent Study, canines "overwhelmingly have had a positive impact on a range of emotional, behavioral and even physical qualities in their people." Which basically means that dogs make their owners better, happier, and healthier humans. Not bad in exchange for some food, love, and unlimited ear scratches!

The results are eye opening for the millions of dog parents who don't always notice the little ways their four-legged family member impacts their lives. From getting us outside and moving, to keeping us laughing with their antics, let's just say you owe your pup endless belly rubs and treats.

For example, the study reports that a whopping 93% of dog parents in the U.S. say their dog has made them a better person in at least one way. Meanhwile, 71% of dog parents say their pup has made them happier, with nearly four in five saying it's easier to get out of bed because of their dog's morning greeting. Seriously, where would we be without them?

On top of that, about half of pup parents say their dog has made them more patient (54%), responsible (52%) or affectionate (47%). More than four in five (83%) say their dog has made them more active, with 72% claiming their dog plays a role in their exercise decisions.

For many, the bond between themselves and their pup even rivals those they share with other humans. More than four in five (83%) consider their pup to be their best friend. On average, Americans in relationships who tell their dog they love them do so six times per day, which is as often as they tell their significant other.

So dog people, not only are you happier and healthier thanks to your furry friend, but you're not alone. The country is full of other crazy dog parents who love their pups just as much as you do.

Head over to Bark & Co. to learn more about the results of the study. And do us a favor: Give your dog a big wet one for us. And we know they'll appreciate it—after all, they are smarter than we think they are.

If you don't own a precious pup, consider adopting one. There are so many dogs that need love, and with all these wonderful mental health benefits you will be getting just as much, if not more, out of the bargain too.