Owning a Dog Is Good for Your Mental Health – 7 Reasons Why

It is often claimed that owning a dog is good for your mental health.

Some say that pets, in general, can help with stress, anxiety and even depression. Recent studies also support these claims.

But why is owning a dog therapy for those of us with mental health issues? Read on as we uncover some theories:

  1. Companionship

Pet’s, especially dogs, are eager to please and are usually happy as long as they’re with their human family. They keep us company when we’re together and greet us enthusiastically when we return home. Such a warm greeting makes us cheerful and this is certainly good for our wellbeing.

Loneliness is often blamed for depression and other diseases. Caring for a pet eliminates isolation and loneliness. Many owners regularly speak to their furry chums. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Is there any reason why the confidante cannot be a dog?

A dog can go almost everywhere with you. You can share experiences with your canine companion and tell stories of your adventures.

  1. Affection

Dog’s and other pets show us endless, unconditional love. This alone is an important source of support. They don’t care who we are, what we have or haven’t achieved, or what we think of ourselves. They simply love us. Full stop.

Stroking a pet has a calming effect on us and playing with our four-legged friends makes us both happy. This feeling could help reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.

  1. Exercise

A major health benefit of dog ownership is exercise. Dogs have to be walked daily, no matter what, which means that you have no choice but to get up and go out.

Getting out and about in all weathers is undoubtedly good for you. Both physically and mentally.

  1. Socialisation

A bonus of being in the outdoors with your canine companion is that others, especially dog owners, frequently stop and chat with you. This will cheer you up, boost your confidence, and potentially increase your social circle.

  1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the buzzword of the moment but when you share your life with a dog or other pet, you start to see things differently. Dogs are only concerned with what is happening now and what is just about to happen.

You may think that a dog is only concerned with food and walks in the park but try looking at the world as they do. Doing so can serve to bring your thoughts back to the present moment. This takes you away from worrying about issues that you are facing in the future or negative experiences of the past.

  1. A Sense of Purpose

Our pets rely on us totally and cannot survive without us. It is important to feel wanted for our own wellbeing.

Being needed offers a sense of purpose and adds real meaning to our lives.

  1. Pets Make Us Laugh

Perhaps most importantly, pets make us laugh. Be it silly antics, hilarious expressions or ridiculous sleeping positions, your pet is sure to put a smile on your face. They may even bring on a full belly laugh. You can rely on an animal companion to entertain you.

Laughing helps to combat dark thoughts and worrying feelings and is pet therapy at its best.

Rodney showing off

So it does appear that pet ownership seems to have a positive effect on a person. Perhaps owning a dog is good for your mental health after all.

I for one can find no negatives of sharing my life with my handsome hound.


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