Having a Dog can Improve Your Mental Health. Here’s What You Should Know

They weren’t even lying when they say that dog is a man’s best friend. What does a best friend and a dog have in common?

They both cheer you up when you’re down. Even on days where I swear the sky reflects my darkest moods, somehow- my dog just gets me to cloud nine. 

Am I alone? I don’t think so. I’m sure dog owners know just how happy their dogs can make them in an instant. But did you know that they can improve your mental health as well?


Companionship

Remember those mood where you kinda want to have company, but not talk at all? A pet is a perfect companion for you. More often than not, dogs are very intuitive. They seek you out when you’re feeling down, refusing to allow you to remain alone. 

Furthermore, they are able to both distract you and keep you in the present. What do I mean by this? When you are worrying or stressing over something, your dog’s presence is able to distract you from your thoughts. When you are present and engaged with it, you are not worrying about the past or the future. It’s literally just you and your pet.

Those instances where you start playing with your dog and you forget completely about that boy who just broke your heart a week ago? Yeah, it works too. It sure keeps your mental health in check! 


Stress Relief

Last but not least, they provide sensory stress relief that helps to improve your mental health tremendously. Feeling stressed out over your upcoming exams? Stroke your dog and you’ll feel much better.

In fact, touch is one of the healthy ways to quickly manage stress. Stroking a dog lowers blood pressure and can help you quickly feel calmer and less stressed. Rhythmic petting or grooming can be comforting to your dog or cat, and you.

According to Alan Beck, ScD, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, when you connect with your pet, Oxytocin, the hormone related to stress and anxiety relief, is released, helping to reduce blood pressure and lower cortisol levels. 

Rhythmic petting or grooming can be comforting not only to you, but your dog as well. Time to head home and sayang your dog tonight! 


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Featured Image: Mary Rice / Shutterstock.com

This article was first published on goodyfeed.com 

Vanessa Ong

Vanessa Ong

An eighteen-year-old girl who is fond of words and the wonders of the world. Perpetually lost in her own thoughts, easily excitable and appreciates a great deal of humour.
Vanessa Ong