How Dogs Help Mental Health

This year has been detrimental to many people’s mental health. According to CNN, the pandemic has caused an increase in “mental struggles” for numerous reasons. 

"The physical aspects of the pandemic are really visible. We have supply shortages and economic stress, fear of illness, all of our disrupted routines, but there's a real grief in all of that,” explained Lisa Carlson, former president of the American Public Health Association.

Now, we recommend seeking professional help if you notice a decline in your mental health. Once you talk to a doctor or a therapist, you may also want to consider adopting a dog to improve your mood. 

The Mental Health Foundation reported that a canine companion can help those diagnosed with depression feel motivated. Instead of staying curled up on the couch, you’ll be more inclined to leave the house and take your pooch on walks. You will feel better getting in some exercise and some fresh air. 

Even simply petting your dog has a myriad of benefits. The  American Kennel Club noted that showering your pup with physical affection will make you feel a lot less stressed out, as it “can release the oxytocin hormone and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol.” There’s also evidence that shows the feeling is mutual. So if you or your dog start to get overwhelmed, just give them a few pets. 

Also, the pandemic has been an isolating event. Many people have been separated from their loved ones and have no idea when they will see them in person. Personally, most of my socialization is over Zoom. While it’s lovely to see my friends and family members’ faces, shutting my laptop after our scheduled conversations can be a bit heartbreaking. 

Having a dog in your life can help combat the loneliness most of us have experienced for the past year. The AKC noted that research published in the National Library of Medicine showed that pup parents “reported significantly less dissatisfaction with their social, physical and emotional states.” 

Have you noticed that owning a dog has helped improve your mental health? Let us know in the comments below!

image courtesy of optimisticmommy.com


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