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How Dogs Boost Your Mood and Mental Health

Dog ownership has been shown to have many mental health and mood benefits. From emotional support to physically encouraging an active lifestyle, there are many positive aspects of owning a dog. How exactly does owning a dog boost your mood and health? We’re here to explain.

Mood and Emotional Support

Dog owners have reported fewer symptoms of depression, especially during the pandemic. One reason we believe this is the case is that many people from all walks of life have felt a greater sense of social support from their dogs, and it’s given many a reason to wake up in the morning, get out in the fresh air even if just for a short time while their pet potty’s outdoors. Dogs can tune into emotions and engage in a profoundly emotional bond with their owners.

Therapy Dogs

When we look at therapy dogs or dogs who have been specifically trained to comfort people living with a wide range of mental health conditions, or physical health problems and diseases, it shines a light on how helpful our dogs can be.

Physically petting a dog increases serotonin which lowers blood pressure and heart rate while elevating your mood. It’s also been shown to decrease the common stress hormone known as cortisol which can leave anyone feeling better than they started. 

In cases of severely depressed patients, we see the support and unconditional love to be particularly helpful in filling the void someone may be struggling to deal with. Bonding with animals is a great way to help suppress the negative symptoms of mental illness and increase natural happiness hormone levels in the brain.

Adding Routine and Structure

It’s no secret that dogs have a few daily needs and care requirements. Having a dog to care for gives many people a sense of purpose and actually adds more routine and structure to their lifestyle. When your dog gives you those puppy dog eyes, it’s hard not to feed, walk, or care for your pet. The puppy stage can be incredibly challenging, but keeping up with proper timing between potty breaks and having a consistent meal schedule helps your dog maintain a balanced routine and bring stability to your own routine.

Companionship

A little companion by your side seems to make everything better. Being isolated for long periods of time can lead to symptoms of depression. Caring for a dog can increase your self-esteem and personal value because you feel wanted and needed. The distraction of dog ownership can also draw attention away from your problems, especially if you live alone. Even though talking to a little maltipoo puppy may seem silly, it can help people work through their issues mentally, and that companionship can be very calming.

Exercise

You may not be the most active, and a casual hike through the valley may sound like a draining task. The funny thing about owning a dog is that you typically find this new sense of joy when exercising just by watching your furry friend enjoy himself out in nature. Walking and exercising your dog is mandatory, pushing many pet owners to get out of the house and start exercising regularly while genuinely enjoying it! Exercise, a little fresh air, and sunshine are sure to boost your mood, even if only at the end when you feel a sense of accomplishment.

Meeting New People

Dog owners tend to be very friendly and interested in each other. Stopping for a quick chat in your local park or on a hike is very common. The social aspect of owning a dog stems from general curiosity. You may have people stop you periodically to ask what breed, age, or gender your dog is or what your little fluffball’s name is. These little chats can be a gateway to meeting new people and even brightening their moods as well by creating a more inclusive and positive community.

One of the most critical aspects of ensuring success when getting a new dog is making sure the dog is compatible with your lifestyle and that you’re able to fulfill their needs as well. Once you’ve accomplished this, you can expect to have your mood boosted!