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How Your Dog Can Help Your Mental Health

Owning a pet can have many health benefits, especially in the areas of mental health. Many people live isolated lives, are far from family, or spend little time outside. Having a dog can provide the companionship and encouragement these people need to help them adopt healthier lifestyles.

In addition, petting and playing with a dog can actually have beneficial impacts on our hormones and change the way we feel.

If you are ready to adopt a new furry family member, make sure you get one from a responsible source such as a local animal shelter, pet rescue, or the screened breeders on Pawrade.com. And don’t jump into a long-term commitment unless you know you are ready for the responsibilities and time requirements of dog ownership. Every dog deserves loving, committed, and responsible owners. Once you are ready to take that leap into owning a dog, here are some of the mental health benefits you may be rewarded with:

Reduce Depression

Some studies have shown that people with pets may be less likely to suffer from depression. While the results seem mixed, many experts think that the overall well-being of pet owners can be better, which helps to improve the symptoms of other conditions such as depression. In addition, having a dog can encourage people to have healthier habits which can also have an overall positive effect.

Get More Exercise

Dog owners are up to four times more likely to get the recommended amount of activity each day. This is partly because having a dog makes activity just more fun and interesting. If you want to get outside and go for a walk, you are more likely to do it if you have companionship, and there’s no better walking companion than a furry friend! In addition, responsible and loving pet owners know their dogs need physical activity and will be more likely to get outside and move if they’re doing it for their pet’s sake.

Spend Time Outside

Dog owners have more incentive to go outside to play, walk, and spend time with their dogs. This is why many dog owners get more exercise than other people. But this isn’t the only advantage to being outside more. Fresh air and sunshine also have health benefits. Modern homes have very polluted air, especially new homes, even if they are kept clean. The off-gassing of home building materials can cause air pollution, as can any unburnt fuels from heating or cooking. Fresh air is a great antidote for the polluted air inside your home. In addition, sunshine has shown benefits for our eyesight and can help the immune system by increasing vitamin D production.

Provide Companionship

Pets of all kinds help provide companionship and stave off loneliness for people who live alone or who are a long way from friends and family. Modern families are likely to move away from grandparents, parents, and other important connections, leaving them feeling lonely and vulnerable. This is especially common in the elderly and young single people. A pet can help provide companionship for these people, and there’s no better companion than a dog.

Elevated “Feel Good Hormones”

Studies show that people who pet and interact with dogs have raised levels of feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. This is especially true for the hormone oxytocin, the hormone of love and family bonding- this is the same hormone that is released when mammals nurse their babies. This means that humans are hard-wired to connect with dogs in the same way they do with other humans. Even more interesting is the fact that dogs also experience an increase in this hormone when being petted.

Reduce Stress Levels

Along with increasing oxytocin, the love hormone, petting a dog can also decrease the amount of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone known as the stress hormone. Even a short time of petting a dog, such as ten or fifteen minutes, is enough to experience a significant reduction in stress hormones. So, the next time you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or discouraged, find a dog to pet!

Give a Sense of Purpose

Dog owners often report feeling that their life with their pet has more meaning and purpose than it did before, especially for those owners who live alone and the elderly. It is hard for anyone to power through life if they feel lonely and meaningless. Having someone who needs you and who loves you, someone who is ready to meet you at the door every day, and someone who wants nothing more than to be with you can be one of the best feelings in the world.

Lower Blood Pressure

Finally, petting a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure. While this can happen when petting any dog, and it can happen quickly, there are even bigger benefits if you actually own a dog. Dog owners are less likely to have cardiovascular problems, have lower cholesterol, and have fewer negative heart responses during periods of stress. While researchers aren’t sure why this happens, it seems like just one more positive benefit for dog lovers!

Conclusion

While no one should go out and buy a pet just to lower their blood pressure or their cortisol levels, for people who already have animals or who are already considering adopting a dog, these are added benefits. If you aren’t ready to take the step into pet ownership, consider spending time volunteering at an animal shelter or pet your friend’s and neighbor’s dogs when given the chance- you just might feel happier, more relaxed, and better prepared to face your day.

Originally posted 2022-11-23 17:58:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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