Why Are Dogs Good for Your Mental Health?

According to many studies, dogs may enhance your life by reducing stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation. They encourage exercise and can improve overall health. There is so much to gain from having a dog for someone who suffers from depression, ADHD, cognitive disabilities, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, or physical disabilities. The benefits are many.

Over half of all households in the United States have at least one dog; this leaves approximately 55 million dogs living in American homes. Dogs are social creatures and are considered mans’ best friend for a reason; they are constantly curious, love attention, crave affection, and go out of their way to make people happy. Not only do dogs enjoy spending time with their owners, but according to studies, they thrive off the attention given to them.

How are dogs used in education?

Therapy dogs have a beneficial impact on emotional well-being and cognitive growth. Certain volunteer efforts are geared toward bringing the dogs into the childrens’ lives whether it be at school or in their home, the dogs’ interaction with children improves their:

  • Reading abilities
  • Stimulates memory and problem-solving skills
  • Enhances executive-functioning abilities  

For children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), dogs are an essential component of treatment. The unconditional love and companionship that a dog offers give children the attention, affection, and motivation they need to improve their focus and concentration.

For instance, in a study conducted on 90 children with ADHD who attended school in Chile, scientists found that therapy dogs promoted “improvements in attention and impulsivity” for the students (Scholastic).

For children with autism, the dogs should be calm and patient. Studies have shown that when a disabled person encounters an assistance dog, they experience lower stress and anxiety levels, resulting in decreased blood pressure and heart rate (Dog Channel).

Why are dogs good for depression?

Dogs can help with depression through a variety of health benefits. For example, their closeness increases oxytocin production and serotonin levels, which in turn decreases levels of stress and lowers blood pressure. It also increases positive emotions and can make us more trusting of others around us.

Depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. Dogs provide unconditional love and acceptance and can help individuals cope with feelings of sadness and loneliness. They give their owners someone to talk to, cuddle with, love, and depend on for affection without judgment. 

Dogs also motivate people to get outside; they provide a reason to take a walk, go for a jog or meet up with friends. In addition, dogs serve as an essential motivator for increasing physical activity and exercise in the elderly, individuals who recently suffered heart attacks, and those with arthritis.

Owning a dog brings with it a sense of responsibility and purpose, which can improve mental health. Many people who have dogs take them on walks or runs as a way to bond as well as release any pent-up stress or anxiety that may be weighing on their minds. In addition, having a canine companion provides individuals with a reason to get out of bed in the morning and can help eliminate feelings of loneliness.

Did you know that dogs help individuals with disabilities improve their quality of life? Studies have shown that when a disabled person encounters an assistance dog, they experience lower stress and anxiety levels, resulting in decreased blood pressure and heart rate.

Dogs are extremely helpful in improving social skills because they provide a reason to talk to people, interact with them and form relationships. Furthermore, they do this in a way that is not threatening or intimidating for the individual because dogs do not judge their owners but instead offer unconditional love, affection, and empathy.

What dog is best for mental health?

  1. Vizsla
  2. Labrador Retriever
  3. Yorkshire Terrier
  4. Pug
  5. Cavalier King Charles’ Spaniel
  6. Brussels Griffon
  7. Golden Retriever
  8. Corgi
  9. Irish Wolfhound
  10. Chihuahua

Why Are Dogs Good for Your Mental Health?

In conclusion, dogs are wonderful companions that have the gift of making us humans feel loved just by being around. Not only are dogs good for mental health but also for therapy use within the educational environment.

It feels good to have a pup that treats you with patience, showers you with sloppy kisses to lighten you up, and listens without judging. Always seek help from therapists, psychologists, or other healthcare providers first.