How Dogs Influence Mental Health

Dogs Influence Mental Health:  Companion dogs are a great source of fun and joy for many people. However, a lot of people remain unaware of how these cuddle buddies can influence their mental health. With time, science has proven the tremendously positive effects of the special bond between a human and a dog.

Dogs tend to resonate with human emotions and behaviors significantly. They eagerly grasp the linguistics and commands used by their owners and perform tasks accordingly. With their deep stare, dogs can instantly capture your heart and mind, creating a strong emotional bond. As a result, dogs are likely to alleviate mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Thanks to their playful nature, they can reduce loneliness while keeping you on your toes all day. These furry creatures won’t let you have a sedentary lifestyle as they require your attention and efforts to clean after them. By doing so, you are likely to stay active and improve your cardiovascular health. Similarly, they are great for children who grow up to become more confident and proactive if they have a dog to play with. Many old-age men and women who live alone are likely to stay happier and less lonely by having a dog at home.

How Dogs Influence Mental Health

While dogs are great to share unconditional love and affection with, you can also relieve your stress and get rid of elevated heart rate by simply sitting back and watching your dog play with toys or roam around at your house. You can count on your dog to make you feel motivated during difficulties in life. Here is the list of ways how dogs influence mental health.

1. Happy Hormones

Pets such as dogs can contribute to a healthier mind and body. They release happy hormones such as serotonin and dopamine to relax your mind and boost your mood.

2. Relieve Hypertension

Dog owners are less likely to develop hypertension while encountering challenges in life as compared to those without dogs. The influence of dogs can miraculously improve a heart patient’s health. Hence, it is known that people having symptoms of prehypertension can reduce their blood pressure by adopting a dog from a shelter. Similarly, people experiencing symptoms of heart conditions can reduce the elevated levels of triglyceride and cholesterol in their bloodstream by getting a dog at home. With the prevention of such heart diseases, you are less likely to experience depression or anxiety than those without dogs.

3. Emotional Bonds

The exchange of affection between a dog and its owner is very soothing and calming to the senses. Cuddling or hugging a dog is an effective way to fulfill your emotional and physical needs which can benefit your overall mental health. Even the most emotionally reserved people can succeed in creating better emotional connections with their loved ones upon regular contact with a dog.

4. Elevate your Mood

The process of cleaning up after a dog can be tiring for some people; however, it is an effective remedy for people experiencing fatigue. By doing so, their body remains fit and healthy which can positively affect their mental health. For example, if you are prone to have extreme mood swings, such physical activities after a while play a role in improving your cardiovascular health which in turn can uplift your mood and make you feel better.

5. Emotional Fulfillment

The feelings of loneliness can result in elevated stress and fear of abandonment among people. The companionship of a dog comes to the rescue and makes people feel less lonely. The constant exchange of care and love between dogs and their owners can take away their worries and prevent them from overthinking. Moreover, talking to a dog is proven to be very therapeutic as dogs possess the ability to understand the tone and feelings of humans and respond accordingly. They can make you feel more liked and desired with their undivided attention. Even the sight of a happy dog wagging its tail can elevate your mental and emotional state.

6. Relieve Social Anxiety

If you are introverted towards new people and face difficulty in making new friends, taking your dog along can help you socialize very effortlessly. Whether you are at a club, training class, or a pet store, dog owners tend to appear more friendly and warm towards other people. Therefore, with a dog, you can say goodbye to your social anxiety and fears as more people will approach you and strike conversations with you. This way, you can build new friendships and connections with people and establish a social circle.

7. Improve Children having Autism and ADHD

For children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the exchange of physical contact with a dog can benefit them by improving their sense of touch. The improvement of sensory activity within the brain can elevate their serotonin levels which influence their ability to create social connections. Similarly, if a child is experiencing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), taking care of a dog’s needs can build a sense of responsibility in children. For example, by cleaning up after a dog, the child will learn the art of planning and carrying out everyday tasks on time. Taking the dog out for a walk will ensure that the child will keep a check on his surroundings and stay focused throughout the day. By learning how to focus on completing a chore, the child will feel less distracted and more confident.

8. Alleviate Dementia and Epilepsy

Mental disorders such as dementia and epilepsy can be improved by adopting a dog. According to a study conducted in 2019, the companionship between a dog and a patient suffering from dementia can effectively contribute to alleviating the symptoms of the disorder and help improve overall mental health as compared to those who did not have a dog as their pet. Similarly, taking care of a dog requires working according to a specific daily schedule. Adopting a service dog is a great way to keep yourself updated about the intake of seizure-blocking medicines for patients experiencing epilepsy.

9. Improve your Lifespan

With a therapy dog, you can move on from a rough patch in life very seamlessly. These loyal creatures will pour in their love and affection; hence, improve the longevity of your life.
Having a furry baby at home is an amazing idea as it can benefit people in several ways. The presence of a dog works wonders to influence mental health. From treating their owners like royalty to fulfilling a person’s emotional needs, indeed, dogs are human’s best friends!

by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™

Facts About Animal Homelessness:

  1. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
  2. The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.
  3. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Act as a publicist for your local shelter so pets can find homes. Sign up for Shelter Pet PR.
  4. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  5. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.
  6. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.
  7. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
  8. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  9. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.
  10. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  11. According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

Here are a some adoptions for consideration: