Having a dog does not only mean having a pet to cuddle with when it’s raining outside, it also means having a companion for life, a best friend who’ll do anything for you, and a loyal pet who will do his best to protect you and make you happy. But, those are not the only perks of having a dog. Did you know that adopting a furry best friend is also great for your physical and mental health? Yes, dogs are that amazing.
Don’t you believe me? Well, keep on reading and discover seven ways having a dog can be great for you, physically and mentally!
1. Dogs are great to battle stress and anxiety
Before adopting a dog, I used to be an extremely stressed person with a tendency to get anxious. Sure, having a dog didn’t make my anxiety disorder or my panic attacks go away, but it still made me feel better, more calmed down, and overall, less stressed in my day to day life. How do they do that? After all, dogs are not some kind of mystical creatures that can heal you by sleeping next to you. Or are they?
Well, I’ve made some research (as I do), and, apparently, petting your dog actually reduces your blood pressure! How? Well, when you’re petting your dog (or any other animal, really), your body releases a relaxation hormone, which makes your stress levels go down. Yay for science (and dogs)!
2. Dogs provide companionship
It doesn’t matter if you’re the proud owner of a Golden Retriever or a Maltipoo, dogs can and will provide you with companionship, no matter how mean you are to them (but don’t be mean to dogs, these animals are precious).
Dogs are loyal animals that will love you no matter what. They are friendly, affectionate, and most importantly, consistent. If they love you, they will love you to the moon and back, and nothing you do can change this. This is why a lot of therapists (such as BetterHelp) advise people with depression to get a dog, they will provide them with companionship, give them a reason to wake up in the morning, and make their lives feel less lonely.
Dogs provide comfort and let’s be real, we all need some comfort every once in a while.
3. Dogs help you stay active
Most dogs are active animals that need walking and exercise daily. This, in turn, will encourage you to become more active. You will go out more, will workout more, and as a result, your body and health will feel better! Exercise is not only good for our bodies, it’s also good for our brains and our mental health, which makes it a two-in-one solution for everyone out there feeling drained and out of energy!
4. Dogs can prevent heart disease
Yes, and I’m not even joking! Having a dog means you are bound to exercise more, which is, of course, great for your heart! Research has shown that owning a dog can physically prevent heart disease and being a dog parent is associated with having lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and experiencing fewer heart attacks.
So, save yourself, get a dog!
5. Dogs will boost your mood
No dog owner is a gloomy person, that’s for sure! Having a dog is shown to improve mood in both men and women. Dogs make you more cheerful, less anxious and help with stress, which makes them better than a stress ball. They also make you happier, which is not something we will say “no” to!
6. Dogs help you connect with other people
Dog owners are popular, mostly because everyone will want to pet your best friend when you’re walking him. Statistically speaking, it was shown that dog owners talk and interact with more people, which makes dogs a social magnet.
Contact is important for human beings, as we are, after all, social animals. It makes us happier, and thus, more mentally healthy.
7. Finally, dogs are great motivators
They motivate you to work out, to talk to people, to be responsible, and to be a better version of yourself. They give you a sense of purpose and give your life meaning when you feel like there’s nothing more to it. They are great for your mental and physical health. So, if you’re feeling down or depressed, but can’t adopt a dog, volunteer in a shelter, or go to the dog park, bring some good dog food, and pet some puppies. You will definitely feel better after that, even if it’s just for a bit!