Good versus evil. Rain versus shine. East coast versus west coast. Chocolate versus vanilla.
As iconic as these battles are, they don’t hold a candle to the war between dogs and cats.
Our furry friends provide us with comfort, entertainment, companionship and love. But there’s no denying that they’re very different animals with very different things to offer.
Loyal, sociable and active, dogs move seamlessly along us throughout our lives, from work to play to sleep. For dog people, their pets truly are man’s best friend.
But cat people champion their pets’ independence, coolheadedness and agility. To them, dogs are just too rambunctious, too needy and too unpredictable.
Whose side are we on? Well, that should be obvious: we love our feline friends, but dogs hold the most special place in our hearts.
Here are our top seven reasons why dogs are better than cats. Next time the “cats versus dogs” debate sparks up, feel free to use these as talking points — and show those cat people who the real top dog is!
Top 7 Reasons Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats
1. Dogs Bring People Together
It sounds like a rom-com cliche, but it’s true: sometimes you meet some extraordinary people thanks to your dog.
His fluffy coat and adorable face make for great conversation starters. And his happy-go-lucky attitude is contagious, putting everyone around him in great spirits and bringing life to the social scene.
Plus dogs are excellent judges of character thanks to their incredible perceptive abilities. If your dog likes someone, you know they’re real friend material!
Studies have shown that dogs facilitate social interactions between humans. And not just small-talk, either — the presence of a dog increases the likelihood that two people will help each other or develop a closer relationship.
Would the presence of a cat do the same thing? Maybe… but it seems more likely that the cat would hide or refuse to accompany you in the first place!
2. Dogs Smell Things You Can’t
Scientists estimate that a dog’s nose is 100 to 100,000 times more sensitive than a human’s. They smell things that we can’t even fathom — imagine if we could smell as much detail as we can see!
It’s probably for the best that our sense of smell is so terrible compared to a dog’s. Dogs, at least, seem to enjoy smells that we find repulsive even with our weak noses: garbage, toilets, other dogs’ butts… you get the idea.
But those amazing noses help us even though they’re not attached to us. Dogs use smell to track missing persons, detect bombs in war zones and sniff out signs of arson after fires.
Some dogs have even been trained to detect cancer through scent. Their noses can pick up cancer markers in skin, sweat, urine and even breath in concentrations as low as parts per trillion.
And many people with epilepsy rely on service dogs to detect seizures up to 45 minutes before they occur with 100% accuracy. They do it all with — you guessed it — their noses.
3. Dogs Keep You Moving
As our world moves increasingly from the physical to the digital, our physiques are suffering. Desk jobs, online shopping and sedentary entertainment have made it all too easy to live life without being active.
But when you have a dog, you don’t have a choice but to get outside every day.
Dogs need potty breaks and daily walks; there’s just no avoiding it. It doesn’t matter if you feel like it or not — if your pup’s gotta go, he’s gotta go!
And once you’re out there with a happy dog at your side and fresh air in your lungs, a lot of good things start happening to your health.
Your heart gets stronger, your muscles get more toned and your mood improves. In fact, walking your dog is quite possibly the easiest, most holistic way to instantly boost your health.
Whereas if you followed your cat’s lead, you’d just be sleeping all day!
4. Dogs Prevent Allergies
Allergies are never fun, but especially not when they’re dog-related. Nobody should have to miss out on the joys of dog ownership!
But dogs themselves may hold the key to preventing not just dog allergies, but allergies of all types and even asthma!
A University of California, San Francisco study suggests that people who are exposed to dogs early in life are less likely to have allergies or asthma later in life.
It’s believed that dog dander — the little flakes of skin that dogs shed — contains microbes that stop immune cells from reacting to allergens. Allergy and asthma symptoms are just your immune system overreacting to certain triggers, but dog dander seems to be their kryptonite.
By the way: cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, so even if dog dander didn’t prevent allergies, dogs would still be the better choice for those with sensitive lungs!
5. Dogs Are Loyal
Cats can certainly be true to their owners, but when it comes to loyalty, they’re simply no match for dogs. Dogs are loyal animals.
Take Bobbie the Wonder Dog, for instance, who walked over 2,500 miles to reunite with his owners after getting lost.
Or Sissy the Schnauzer, who broke out of her home and navigated over 20 blocks to reach the hospital where her owner was recovering from surgery.
And that’s not to mention Kostya the German Shepherd, whose owners were killed in a car crash in Tolyatti, Russia. Kostya returned to the scene of the crash every day for seven years, braving all kinds of weather and resisting all attempts to relocate him.
But dogs don’t need to be in extraordinary situations to prove their loyalty. The way your dog waits for you to get home every day and protects you from those wily neighborhood mutts says enough!
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6. Dogs Protect You
Speaking of protection, that’s another thing dogs do that cats just can’t compete with.
Whether they’re guarding junkyards or your yard, military bases or livestock pastures, dogs instinctively protect their territory and their pack. That means that with a dog in your home, you and your family are far safer than you would be otherwise.
The mere presence of your dog is enough to deter burglars and keep solicitors at bay. And when that doorbell rings, he’ll be the first one to the door, ready to welcome or warn off the newcomer at your command.
A dog’s instinct to protect you runs deep. Your cat, on the other hand, would probably just go back to sleep if someone broke into your home.
7. Dogs Empathize with Us
Emotions aren’t exclusive to dogs by any means. Cats also feel many different things: happiness, sadness, excitement, anxiety, hate and love.
But dogs wear their hearts on their sleeves… er, coats. Unlike cats, who express themselves in rather subdued ways, dogs are never reluctant to show you how they’re feeling.
And their emotional intelligence is so advanced that they can tell what we’re feeling — and respond accordingly.
Jumping up and down with excitement? Your dog will be more than happy to join you, even if he has no idea what you’re excited about.
Feeling down in the dumps? Your dog will pick up on it and come over to comfort you with gentle cuddles and even hugs.
And there’s no debate in your dog’s mind about what to do, either: studies show that dogs react to their owners’ sadness three times faster than they do to other stimuli. They’ll even open doors and overcome other obstacles in order to comfort their humans.
Perhaps it’s this empathy and capacity for love that makes dogs the pet of choice for over 38% of American households. But if not, there are plenty of other reasons!
"If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two."
-- Phil Pastoret