You know that dogs bring significant benefits for the physical health of family members. However, did you know that your pup may be helping your mental well-being? There are a number of different mental health benefits that come from being a dog owner.
Excessive stress is a major contributor to a long list of negative health issues. Our dog reduces stress for all family members. This stress reduction has been confirmed in controlled research studies which found that interacting with a dog reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Research has found that owning and caring for a dog also reduces our reactivity to stress.
Owning a dog can help reduce levels of depression. There are a number of different components that go into this finding. The stress hormone, cortisol, reduction. Another relates to oxytocin. A study found that nearly all pet owners see increased levels of oxytocin production. Oxytocin is a hormone associated with joy and happiness. Having a dog simply adds an additional loving companion to your life that can help provide bonding and comfort.
Research has found that people who have strong bonds with their pets tend to develop higher levels of self-esteem. This can be an added bonus for anyone but can be a particularly useful benefit for teens and pre-teens. Caring for a dog can make you feel more important and increase your sense of purpose. Children and teens who help take care of their pups tend to develop higher levels of empathy than their non-pet peers.
A reduction in loneliness is perhaps the least surprising mental health benefit of dog ownership. Any dog owner will note the enjoyment of spending time with their beloved pet. A national survey found that 85% of dog owners felt that their pet reduced loneliness while 76% agreed that human-pet interactions helped to address social isolation. This effect can be particularly useful for people more prone to loneliness such as teenagers or the elderly.
An important aspect of mental health is having energy to do the things that you want. Owning a dog can give you an energy boost. The explanation behind this is quite simple. Since dogs need to engage in physical activity, their humans are more likely to do so. Whether you are taking your dog for a walk, playing games with it, or swimming at your local lake, you’ll get exercise and enhance your energy.
Help Take Care of Your Dog’s Mental Health
With all of the benefits dog owners get, it is important to note that you play a huge role in your dog’s mental health. Dogs need lots of regular exercise and play to keep them fulfilled. Consider varying your dog’s routine with walks to different parks, letting your dog sniff vs just walking beside you. Sniffing has a great mental and physical component for dogs. Other options such as swimming, which is great for muscles and joint health.
If you’re taking your dog swimming, remember they can tire out as easily as you. Be sure to have a float for them to climb on and rest. Lazy Dog Loungers are designed specifically for dogs. Give your dog the give of water fun with a safe zone for them while in the water. You can buy Lazy Dog Loungers at our Amazon store or directly from our website. Get yours today!