Donald and Melania Trump are dog-less occupants of the White House. The last president to not have a dog while president was William McKinley who died in office in 1901 from gangrene as a result of an assassination attempt. President McKinley did have other pets: kittens, a parrot and several roosters.
Is it a good idea for Pres. Trump to get a dog? Notwithstanding the PR aspects of him getting a dog, there are a number of other collateral benefits to dog ownership that Pres. Trump could enjoy:
- Dog owners walk thousands of steps a day more than non-dog owners on average
- Dog owners have fewer “sitting events” than non-dog owners
- Owning any sort of pet is positively correlated with happiness
- Dog owners, as a group, are happier than cat owners
- Owning a dog has been shown to be associated with lower blood pressure and reduced stress and anxiety,
- Dog ownership boosts our immunity and can reduce the incidence of developing allergies for babies who live in houses with dogs
- Dog owners have better survival rates after heart attacks
- Studies have found that dog ownership leads to a better social life
- Dog owners are less prone to depression than non-dog owners
- For persons over age 65, owning a dog is correlated with 30% less doctor visits
Of course, most of these results are merely correlated with dog ownership and may not be causative. It’s possible that the sort of people who own dogs are already happier, more active, etc. Regardless, it would seem to be a positive for all of us if Pres. Trump were to acquire a dog.