Mental Well-Being Tied to Pet Ownership

Having A Dog Improves Your Mental Health

One Poll recently reported that 80% of dog owners are happy or very happy with their life and 86% believe their furry friend can reduce stress levels. Dogs can reduce the feeling of loneliness as they’re always by your side and they help to get you out of the house to meet new people. Furthermore, people over the age of 50 reported that walking their dog around four times a week made them feel a stronger connection to their community. Read on to learn more about the positive impact your dog can have on your mental health.

Animal Therapy

Time and time again people’s mood and wellbeing improve when they spend time with furry friends. New research from the University of Missouri-Columbia has found that petting a dog for just a few minutes releases hormones related to happiness, including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. Research has also shown that simply being around dogs has a calming effect on people and boosts their mood. Animal therapies are used for a range of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and for children with ADHD. Purdue University did a review of clinical trials on how animal therapies affect children on the autism spectrum. Measuring 30 different outcome variables, they found that 27 of the 30 showed statistically significant improvements thanks to the animals.

Unconditional Love

Who doesn’t want unconditional love? You come home from a horrible day at work, with the weight of the world on your shoulders, you open the front door and there is your best friend. They’ve come running to greet you, instantly wide awake, tail wagging like crazy and a toy in their mouth as a welcome home present just for you. Dogs really don’t care about the things you messed up at work. This unconditional love will turn your frown upside-down, which will improve your mood and decrease your stress levels almost instantly. The Centre For Human-Animal Bond found that you don’t even need to pet an animal, just being around them reduces blood pressure, which is how stress can be physically measured.

Your Spiritual Health 

Spiritual health takes your focus away from material and physical things and shifts it onto the human spirit or soul. 69% of people have expressed that they want to improve their spirituality as they believe it goes hand-in-hand with improving their overall wellbeing. Part of spirituality is about remaining in the present. Dogs are great at helping you do this as they offer a distraction, like playing ball with them. This keeps your mind in the present, so you can forget about past and future stressors. Pets also need you to care for them and giving and caring for another will help your spirituality too. Feeding, walking and brushing your dog are all things that help to keep your pet healthy and helps them to thrive.

The happiness dogs ooze from them combined with their non-judgemental attitude seems to be key to why people enjoy their company so much. The love and comfort they bring to a home is non-comparable and it’s easy to see why so many people report improved mental, spiritual and physical health.

Submitted by Chrissy Jones

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