How Dogs Can Help with Mental Health
Dogs can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise, and even improve your cardiovascular health through a more active lifestyle. Unlike other pets, dogs require a certain level of responsibility and care that reinforces that special bond between dogs and humans. Not only are dogs fiercely loyal to their human companions, but most pet parents thrive off of the security and unconditional love their dogs give back.
Whether you’re looking for a friendly companion, a personal security guard, a new hunting partner, or a service animal, dogs can elevate our overall quality of life. We’ve listed some of the ways dogs can improve their human’s mental health.
Reducing Stress and Anxiety
There are many ways that dogs can help humans reduce their stress and anxiety. Pets are a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation which can all equate to a more meaningful, stress-reduced life. Scientific studies have shown that the simple act of petting or playing with your dog can increase your serotonin and dopamine levels, reduce blood pressure, and just improve your overall mood.
As a pet begins to understand and relate to their owner more, they begin to read their moods and know when they are in need of some love. They can help a person who struggles from panic or anxiety attacks by recognizing their warning signs and helping them to remain grounded and calm.
TheAmerican Psychology Association noted that pet owners were more likely to have higher self esteem and tended to have less fear. Be sure to discuss your needs and possible solutions with a healthcare professional as dog ownership may not be suitable for all lifestyles or situations.
Although dogs cannot replace real human interaction, they can provide some much-needed company on a regular basis. Canine companions encourage us to get up and get out of the house. They have a way of connecting us to nature that is hard to find elsewhere in our rapidly developing and highly technological world.
Additionally, the attention that dogs attract from strangers can help ease the owner’s feelings of loneliness and promote more social interactions. Making new friends can be difficult, but dogs are a great way to break the ice and connect with others. Find a local pet ownership group or simply frequent your local dog parks.
Thisstudy done by Pubmed.com reports that “dog owners reported significantly less dissatisfaction with their social, physical and emotional states” than non-dog owners. Something to think about!
Promoting a More Active Lifestyle
Owning a dog is a sure way to begin to form a more active lifestyle. An active dog requires a lot of physical and mental activity to stay healthy (as do you!), so if you have been looking for some motivation to get moving, here it is! Playing with them, taking them on multiple walks per day, and the day-to-day upkeep will keep you active and on your feet in all of the best ways. Dogs, much like humans, will get bored of doing the same activities over and over again so be sure to mix it up!
Worried About the Work Involved?
It is true that dogs can require quite a bit of work and attention. They need your love just as much as you need theirs! But, if you’re looking for a dog that is more low-maintenance, they exist.
Do some research to find a breed and a size that works with your lifestyle. There are hypoallergenic dogs that won’t impact your allergies as badly, there are dogs that hardly shed and require less grooming, and there are dogs that don’t require tons of exercise. Dig around and find the dog that will take your life to the next level!
If you are looking for a way to improve your overall health and well-being, a dog might just be exactly what you need. They are playful, fun, friendly, loving, reduce stress naturally, ease loneliness, and promote a more active lifestyle. Find the pup that works for you and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!