How Owning a Dog Can Improve Your Mental Health

How Owning a Dog Can Improve Your Mental Health

As we all know, dogs are renowned to be a mans best friend. But they may be more beneficial to our happiness than we may realise. Dogs can help relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD and even improve your physical health too.

For most dog owners, the joy of owning a dog is immediate from the moment you pick them up. But many owners often don’t realise just how influential dogs can be, not just on your physical health, but your mental health too. Dogs as well as cats, have been proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression, reducing loneliness and improved cardiovascular wellbeing through increased exercise.

How dogs can lead to a happier and healthier lifestyle:

  • Getting out and about- walking, hiking or going for a run with your pup are rewarding and enjoyable ways to increase your fitness in day to day life. Plus exercising daily is also beneficial for your dog. It will create a deeper connection between you and your dog and help to eliminate most behaviour problems in your pet.
  • Being your friend. Companionship helps reduce the risk of getting ill and can potentially increase life expectancy. Looking after your pet can help give you a sense of purpose and take your mind off any stress or problems, especially if you live by yourself. Even knowing you have an animal at home the you can chat to with no judgement can help. Plus nothing gives you serotonin like coming home to a smiling face and waggy tail.
  • Socialising. Having a dog means you can no longer be anti-social when you go out, it’s just not possible when you have a pet. But your morning walks could now be the start of new friendships blossoming. Dog parents love a good natter while out and about, plus there’s always opportunities to meet new owners in places like pet shops or training classes.
  • Helping with anxiety. Owning a dog can help reduce your anxiety, and build up your confidence if you struggle with anxiety when leaving the house. Dogs don’t have anything to stress or overthink, which can lead you to become more mindful and live in the moment more.
  • Giving your day structure. All animals, but dogs especially need set meal times and frequent exercise. Having a daily routine keeps your pet calm and therefore you calm as a response. No matter your mood, one look of puppy dog eyes and you’ll spring out of bed to meet their needs and care for them.
  • Sensory stress relief. Movement and touch are ways to quickly combat stress. Stroking a dog can lower blood pressure and quickly help you feel calmer.