Friends With Benefits: Why Owning A Dog Is Good For Your Mental Health

You don’t need us to tell you about the many joys that come with owning a dog… Long, relaxing walks, super fun play sessions and a special, unbreakable bond are just a few.

But did you know that owning a dog is also good for your mental health?

Research has shown that dog owners are less lonely, less preoccupied with life’s problems and less fearful, with higher levels of self-esteem.

Here’s a few reasons why dogs are so good for mental health…

They encourage us to exercise

It’s well known that blowing away the cobwebs with some fresh air is a great way to clear your head. When you feel a bit down sometimes it’s difficult to summon the motivation to get out and about, but when you have a dog there’s always a good excuse to leave the house.  

They calm us down

Just sitting and grooming or stroking a dog for 15 minutes can stop our minds racing and help us feel calmer and more relaxed. So if you needed the perfect excuse to cuddle up on the sofa with your dog tonight, this is it!

They are the perfect life partners

Dogs make excellent companions, helping us to avoid getting lonely. There’s something special about waking up and seeing them wag their tail with excitement.

Having a dog often leads to meeting other like-minded dog owners, offering the opportunity to make meaningful human relationships, too.

Want to boost your bond? Download our expert guide

They give us purpose

Caring for a dog can take time, money and effort – but it comes with real reward, too. Looking after your four-legged friend can give you purpose and help you feel valued and needed. 

They give us a sense of achievement

When you’re training your dog, and you achieve a new goal, it gives you a real buzz. That sense of achievement plays a small but important role in positive mental health.

They keep us busy

As well as the physical exercise that comes with daily walks, short, intense play sessions can be just as much fun for humans as they are for dogs! With the help of well-designed interactive tug toys, you can forget your troubles and get stuck into a game with your dog anytime, anywhere.

Got five more minutes?  All dogs can help with our mental health, but there are a few extra special dogs who go the extra mile, saving lives by detecting life-threatening diseases like cancer. Read all about them in this article we wrote a few weeks ago.

How has owning a dog helped with your mental health? We’d love to read your story in the comments below.

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Comments

Danny - Tug-E-Nuff - June 29, 2018

Hi Hazel, this is so nice to hear – it goes to show the power of our K9 friends :)

Hazel - June 29, 2018

I suffered from severe depression for 5 1/2 years & only got up to look after my samoyeds, but when my Pyrenean Mountain Dog puppy came home it lifted straight away & I rarely suffer now. She is now 7 yrs old.

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