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How Can My Dog Support My Mental Health?

Nowadays, mental health is a bigger issue than it’s ever been before. It is essential to maintain a positive mental health as it includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. (1) It affects how we think, feel, and act. We wanted to share some resources about how your dog can support your mental health.

What are the Benefits of Owning a Dog for my Mental Health?

Lowers Stress Hormones

In a study conducted by Andrea Beetz of the Department of Special Education of the University of Rostock, Beetz concluded that playing with animals reduces stress-related hormones. These benefits can occur after just five minutes of interacting with a pet. Therefore, pets are very helpful for anxiety sufferers. Playing with a dog or cat raises our levels of serotonin and dopamine. These are hormones that calm and relax the nervous system. Interacting with your pet also reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. It increases the release of oxytocin, another chemical in the body that reduces stress naturally. (2)

Pets Help Build Healthy Habits

Pets need to be taken care of every day. As a result of this, routines must be maintained. Dog owners need to take their pets for walks, runs, and hikes regularly. Therefore, owners receive the benefits of routine exercise. To find out how often you should be exercising your dog, click here. Walking your dog or cat gets you outside which helps you experience the many mental health benefits of being outdoors. Dogs and cats need to be fed on a regular schedule. This forces pet owners to get up and take care of them. In other words, pets give people a reason to get up and start their day.

Pets Provide Companionship

Companionship can help improve your mental health as it prevents isolation and loneliness which can trigger symptoms of depression. (3) Caring for your pet can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems, especially for those living alone.

Unconditional Love

Dogs and cats love their owners unconditionally. They are always happy to see their owners and want to spend time with them, no matter what. This kind of unconditional love is extraordinary for your mental health.

What Are Some Activities I Can Do with My Pet to Promote My Mental Health?

Discover New Places

Be sure to take advantage of the weather this summer and go on an adventure with your pet. Whether it be a hike, road trip, or just a trip to the park, you and your 4-legged friend will be sure to have a blast.

Exercise with Your Pet

Going for walks or taking a swim with your pet will be beneficial and enjoyable for both you and your pet.

Socialize with Other Pet Parents

Going to the dog park will allow your dog to socialize with other pets. While your dog is socializing, you can chat with other pet parents. This can lead to friendships and playdates with other fellow pet parents.

Having a positive mental health is very important for both you and your pet. If you want to know some tips on how to maintain your dog’s mental health be sure to click here.