Why Dogs Are Great For Your Mental Health

  • 20/07/2020

It's no secret that adorable animals have the power to bring happiness at any given moment, and there's actually some hard science to prove it. Owning a dog can actually improve your mental health — as if you needed another reason to adopt a furry friend.

Whether you're struggling in your mental health or are simply curious about bringing some extra joy into your life, getting a pet could be a great next step for you. Dogs are great companions, and they can bring sunshine and smiles into your life in so many ways. You can find yourself a puppy, or make your way to the local shelter for a senior dog if that's more your speed. It's hard to go wrong with these lovable creatures.

There are so many unexpected ways dogs can improve your mental health, from your daily walks to their love and loyalty. 

1. Safety and Security

Depending on the breed you go for, getting a dog can help you feel safer and more secure in your home. If you're looking for a pet that can improve upon your mental health regarding anxiety or other related conditions, having a pet that can watch over you and your loved ones might be a great addition to your life. Not all dogs are guard dogs, and they don't all have to be. Sometimes, just the knowledge that there's another living thing in your house can give you peace of mind.

If you are looking for a more protective breed, you can go that route as well. Breeds like German Shepherds and Akitas are great for this purpose. 

2. Unconditional Love

Man's best friend is the slogan for a reason. Dogs are some of the most loving, loyal and devoted creatures on the planet, and they'll show you all the affection as long as you treat them kindly. Adopting a pet is a lifelong bond, sure to make you best buddies forever. Sharing a bond like this can help with your self esteem by reminding you that you deserve loving, positive exchanges. 

The bond you share with your pet is unlike any other, and the exchange of unconditional love between you and your furry friend has the power to serve as a source of happiness and purpose in your life.

3. Promoting an Active Lifestyle

With younger dogs and more active breeds especially, adopting a dog can lead to a much more active lifestyle. Dogs need to be walked and played with. Puppies have a lot of energy and enjoy being entertained with games and active time to run around. If you're not already active, having the responsibility of a pet can enforce the habit of regular exercise and lead to a much healthier overall lifestyle. 

On average, people who own dogs are 54% more likely to get their recommended amount of exercise than those who don't have a furry companion. And what could be more fun than getting out and having fun with an adorable friend? Exercising releases endorphins that lift your mood — add an adorable dog into the mix and you'll have the ultimate pick-me-up.

4. Companionship

While hanging out with your pup isn't exactly the same as spending time with another human, that can be a part of the beauty! If you have a low social threshold but don't always want to be completely alone, getting a dog could help your mental health in the perfect way. While your dog provides the presence of someone else in your space to coexist with, they also aren't presenting the demand for conversation — unless, of course, you really feel like talking to your dog.

Having someone else around can provide a sense of comfort and help curb loneliness and other negative emotions.

5. Gentle Social Interaction

Having a dog often does the work of getting you out of the house and out into the world. Sometimes, it can be hard to find an excuse to get out of the house — or even to get out of bed — but your dog will no doubt pressure you into at least taking a stroll. Even if you only see your neighbors, getting out and about can be good for your self esteem and social life.

Getting dressed and going out into the world isn't always easy, but you might find that the prospect of going for a walk around the block or taking a trip to the park with your favorite little companion can motivate you to get out into the world for a little while. Outdoor time, social interaction and forming routines are all things that have positive impacts on mental health, and you can find them all with your pup.

When you adopt a pet, you're signing up for so much more than meets the eye. You'll find a friend for life in your dog, and that friend can help uplift you when times are down and encourage you to get out into the world. Mental health isn't perfect, but your dog's wagging tail, sweet smile and cuddles are among the little things that can keep you going day after day.

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