Pets can bring valuable companionship and joy to our lives, so many of us wouldn’t be without them. However, those of us with a dog could also experience better physical and mental health thanks to our furry friends. Here are three ways dogs can improve your health and well-being.
Dogs alleviate loneliness
85% of people believe that interactions with pets help reduce loneliness, and 76% think these interactions help reduce social isolation. Dogs provide us with companionship. We can talk to them without any fear of criticism or rejection. They provide unconditional love and support, making us feel accepted and less alone.
Going for daily dog walks can also help prevent or reduce loneliness. Many people stop to chat with fellow pet owners when exercising their dogs, and some make new friends by bumping into the same people on their daily routes or attending training classes with their pup-loving peers.
Dogs help us exercise
A dog needs between one and two hours of exercise each day, depending on size, age and temperament. High-energy breeds, like Border Collies, Boxers, Huskies and Labradors, require even more activity. Exercising your dog means exercising yourself, so having a dog is a brilliant way to keep yourself active and physically fit. Exercise is good for our mental health, too.
It triggers the release of endorphins, chemicals that make us feel good. Plus, it can help alleviate anxiety, stress, racing thoughts and low mood in the short and long term. In families, dogs are a great way to bring the clan together if there’s a routine of daily family walks. When busy households have conflicting schedules, a dog can unite everyone and allow parents to spend quality time with their kids.
Dogs boost our self-esteem
The responsibility of caring for another creature can make us feel good about ourselves. It allows us to take the focus off ourselves and concentrate on the well-being of another creature. This can be particularly helpful for people with depression or anxiety who can get caught up in worrying about their perceived flaws or fears.
Plus, caring for a dog can make us feel important and, therefore, more valuable. Since mental health issues like depression often reduce our sense of self-worth, taking care of a dog is an excellent way to offset these feelings. Research has found that the stronger your bond with your pet, the higher your self-esteem.
Training, playing and spending plenty of quality time with your dog can help you grow your bond and feel better connected with them.
Introducing a dog into your family is a big step and not a decision to take lightly. However, the benefits to health and well-being make dog ownership a brilliant choice if you have the time to commit to a furry friend.