Can Dogs Improve Your Mental Health?
Whether it’s opening the door to a wagging tail, or receiving face licks (kisses), Dog’s unconditional love and support can positively impact your health and mental wellbeing, helping to create a healthier lifestyle.
Here are four ways that dogs can improve your mental health.
Dogs provide companionship
Companionship can help prevent illness and even add years to your life, while isolation and loneliness can trigger symptoms of depression. Dogs love to be your companion and the sound of pattering paws walking toward you is a joy no human can describe. They have so much affection and love to give no matter what mood you’re in. If you’re needing a good cuddle they will lay or sit with you providing comfort. If you’re feeling like burning some energy they will play, walk or run with you to no end.
Most of the time Dogs will wait for you to return home, they will follow you around the house and they may even sleep by your bed just to be that bit closer to you. For people living alone, being far from family or feeling isolated, a Dog is what you need to fill that void.
Having a dog encourages physical activity
Being active for just 30 minutes a day, not only benefits your own physical health but your mental health too. Physical activity releases endorphins that can improve your mood and increase your happiness. Dogs’ natural tendency is to remain active, and so they will give you the push you need to grab their lead and head out the door. Don’t limit yourself to just walking, dogs have an exciting nature to enjoy all types of physical activity. Whether it’s jogging, hiking, swimming, playing fetch, or even rollerblading a dog will adapt to whatever its owner is doing.
Dogs provide routine, stability and a sense of purpose
Healthy routines are great for your mental health. Having a routine that cares for your dog’s health too, can provide stability and a sense of purpose.
Having a Dog around the house means having to remember to feed them, bathe them and give them exercise. Some might think this is too time-consuming however the joy and love you will receive from caring for them is well worth it. Regardless of your mood, or even if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, one adorable look from your dog can have you out of bed caring for their every need.
Dogs make you socialise more
Dogs give you a reason to talk to new people while on walks or at the dog park, which can alleviate the loneliness you might feel in a depressive episode. Socialization with others, especially face-to-face, has been shown to ease symptoms of depression.
There is always a huge sense of happiness in people when talking about their dogs, you become willing to share photos and swap funny stories. Without even knowing the effect is happening your dog will build your confidence.
Time to buy a dog?
Rescue dogs are another benefit of dog ownership, while you’re going through a hard time why not adopt a dog who is too? You would be saving it’s life just as much as yours by giving it shelter, food and love!