Unexpected Mental Health Benefits of Having a Dog
Companionship is one kind of relationship that we always need in our life at some point. For some of us, we choose to build that strong bond with pets, especially, with canines.
As dogs live with humans for hundreds of years and become one of the most favorite pets in the whole universe, there must be a certain reason they win so many hearts like that.
In fact, the benefits of having a dog are undeniable. Several studies conducted around the world prove the noble role of dogs in our life. In case you are having a dog or even more at home, or you are planning to have one, you might not know that you are owning the most treasured gift.
We’re sure you have had so many great times with your little four-legged friends, but the following 5 unexpected mental health benefits that you get when owning a dog will surprise you a lot.
Let’s see how having a dog benefits our mental health and check with us whether it’s true or not.
1. Stress, Stress Better Go Away
In this modern age, stress is no longer a strange term to most of us. We all have to deal with it at least once in our lifetime. And we know it’s like a pain in the neck. When suffering stress, you don’t want to be with anyone but at the same time, you need someone beside to pour it all out.
Here’s when a simple interaction with your dog becomes more essential than ever. Studies show that petting a friendly dog can reduce the stress hormone, cortisol.
Stroking your dog also helps lower blood pressure bringing a lot of improvements in your mood and hence, reduce significantly the stress level.
Noticeably, having a dog is beneficial for both adult's stress and aggression along with hyperactivity in children. Reports show that the more time kids play with dogs, the more they are able to control their temper and stay calm.
2. Say No More with Mental Illness
Dealing with mental illness eats a person’s mind every day. But if they have a dog next to them, they will get a high chance of being distracted from what’s negative to their mind.
Instead of trapping yourself with all stressful, negative thoughts, spending more time with your dog can help you temporarily forget about them for a moment and focus on enjoying the peaceful time only.
Some people say when you get a pet, it means you’re responsible for its life. And when you want to suicide or do harmful things to yourself, you should have a second thought about how that poor, innocent little paw has to do without you.
The unconditional love and support that you might find hard to seek from family or other relationships, can easily always be received from your dog. The way you care for your dog gives you the ability to be more controllable and a sense of security than you can imagine.
3. Help Our Children with Anxiety
Anxiety in children is more serious than we might think. It affects a child’s mental health for a long time and can last till their adolescence.
Fortunately, in a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found out that children who grow up with a pet dog tend to be less anxious than those who don’t.
Hence, the benefits of dogs on mental health are undeniable. Since more and more families recognize the benefits and happiness of having a pet dog, the demand for buying dogs in several pet stores around the states increase significantly.
4. Let’s Go Outside And Make Some Socialization
Whether you like or not, several times a week, or hopefully at least twice a week, you have to go outside and walk your dog. But you may forget that this is a great opportunity for you to get some socialization.
This even benefits those who are scared of talking to strangers or not good at making conversation with people. Research shows that around 40% of pet owners get more chances to make new friends.
How many times do you walk your buddy to the dog park and receive a friendly look or even a smile from other dog owners? Having a dog with you is like a perfect starter for a conversation.
Another benefit of having a dog is that you get a chance to go to other pet-related places such as pet stores, clubs, training classes. Those are places where you will surely find a friend who shares at least one common interest like loving pets as an example.
With more social relationships, you’ll get the social support that brings a sense of belonging and well-being within yourself. So next time, don’t be in a hurry when walking your dog out. Instead, you should make a little eye contact, and smile in exchange with other dog owners or any dog lovers. We’ll never know how that small gesture can go a long way.
5. It’s Time To Boost Your Self-Esteem And Well-Being
When having a pet dog, you actually learn a lot from that companion. Unlike humans, dogs don't try to compete with other dogs through their looks, walk, or even characteristics. They’re just purely themselves and happy with that. No matter if they are short hair or long hair, short or tall, black or white or golden, they all wave their tails when seeing their favorite humans or sleep lazily after a long walk.
It’s like a bright mirror for you to look at yourself and stop doubting your true value. When you realize being yourself is the only thing that can bring long-term happiness in your life, your self-esteem will level up.
Plus, studies found that pet owners tend to be physically fit since they have more time to do extra exercise with their furry friends. Those activities are not because you have no choice, well, perhaps in some cases, but in general, it’s all from your love for that beautiful creature.
The more you exercise the more good neurochemicals you release, which helps a lot in boosting your self-esteem and well-being.
Be Present - Be Happy with Your Best Companion
Enjoy every moment in your life as your furry friends always do when they’re around you. They don’t care about what happened yesterday, nor worry too much about tomorrow. Their faces are always like “OK, human, what we’re going to do now.” Isn’t it wonderful?
Hence, when walking outside with your lovely canine, you should be proud of having the greatest companion in the world. Whoever you and your dog are, you guys are the best buddy to each other.
You can show your pride or gratitude to your furry friend in many ways:
- Talking to other dog owners about how your four-legged friend is such a good companion
- Spending more quality time with them like cuddling on a couch or playing throw and catch balls games
- Wearing mix and match with your paws like wearing a personalized t-shirt featuring your dog face and name on it.
- Buying your pals a personalized food bowl with his face and name so he/she knows that’s always and only his/hers.
- Taking him/her for a car ride, hill jogging, even to a beach or swimming pool would be perfect.
I recently moved to a new neighborhood where I didn’t know anyone. While walking my dog Shotzie, I have met several of the neighbors and made a few new friends. Found out this is a very dog friendly neighborhood. Shotzie has also made a few friends even thought she still likes to be “top” dog !
You nailed it!
During a recent prolonged period of stress, I came to realize how my havanese terrier provided affection, companionship, and a reason to get up every morning.
What they say is true:
Who rescued whom?
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