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Why Dogs are good for Mental Health

We all know that our four-legged friend is really just another member of the family. Like a child, we do everything for them from feeding them, taking them to doctor appointments, and even spoiling them! And if you haven’t figured this out yet, they do a lot for their owners too! From better moods to lowered anxiety and blood pressure, pets serve as more than trusted companion, especially when it comes to your mental health.

Relieves Stress and Anxiety

There are many different ways that a dog can serve as a great companion animal. For many, just petting or cuddling with a dog can help to fight anxiety disorders or stress. Keith Humphreys, a professor of Psychology and Behavior Studies, admits, “Holding and stroking a dog is calming for many people, even those without anxiety problems.” It’s no secret that having a companion makes us feel more at ease. No matter what the issue is that you’ve encountered throughout the day, cuddling with your pet is sure to help!

Fights Depression

Studies show that there are several mental health benefits to owning a dog. They can promote an active lifestyle, lower blood pressure, and limit loneliness. Additionally, researchers have found that spending time with a pet can increase oxytocin and dopamine levels in your body — which promote positive feelings.

Better Sleep

Sleep is important to both physical and mental health, and it can be particularly difficult to achieve quality sleep when you’re not in the right headspace. Did you know that sleeping with your pet could help? Many people find that they feel more comforted and secure with their pet in the room, compared to being alone. If you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, consider sharing some space with your pet to see if it helps. While it doesn’t prove effective for everyone, owners are often surprised at how much their pet’s presence can help.

More Exercise

Living a healthy life is important to your physical health as well as your mental health, however it’s a particularly difficult goal to achieve sometimes. Pet owners are more likely than other people to get some form of exercise daily, especially walking, and generally live healthier lives that are less sedentary as a result. This, in turn, helps boost mental health and offer coping mechanisms to handle stress.

Gives More Purpose To Your Life

If you are suffering with your mental health, you may find yourself lacking motivation to be active during the day, or even get out of bed. A pet helps with that. Because you are responsible for something more than yourself, it may prompt you to be more active because your pet literally relies on you for everything. If you are not performing at your best self, your pet will suffer. Having a pet gives you more purpose throughout the day and can help you keep going.

Pets support social connection

Pets not only help you at home, they help you in social interactions as well. Having a pet can serve as a conversation topic, and prompt you to interact with neighbors or people passing by. People who have more social connections and interactions tend to have healthier relationships and friendships, which ultimately increases their quality of mental health.

If you are struggling with mental health, consider getting a pet. However, if symptoms don’t improve, seek additional help and guidance from a professional.

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