Why Dogs Are Good for Your Mental Health

Most dog owners sing the praises of pet ownership, but it’s unclear why dogs are man’s best friend. Did you know there are both mental and physical benefits that a dog can bring into your life? Here are some reasons why dogs are good for your mental health:

Encouragement to Exercise

When you own a dog, they expect you to take care of them. This means you’ll be feeding and grooming them. A dog also needs exercise too. Your dog will need regular walks, and that means you’ll have to get up on your feet too.

Owning a dog means you’ll be expected to go out and exercise with them as well. You’ll also be out getting some fresh air, which can simply be great for your mood. Spending time outdoors is always time well spent. And taking the time to enjoy the outdoors with your dog makes this time even better.

Help You Meet New People

And since your dog is getting you outdoors more often, you’re likely to meet more people. Oftentimes, dog owners will stop to let their dogs meet and may even strike up a conversation of their own. Dogs provide the perfect way of meeting other people that you might not already know.

Dogs also help you maintain relationships. Most dog owners have a normal route or set of activities. Once you keep seeing the same person at the dog park, you’ll be more likely to talk with that person. The routine of taking your dog out can actually help you form more solid relationships with other people.

Dogs Reduce Anxiety

Having your dog around can help put you at ease. Not only do you have someone nearby that you know has your back, but your dog is going to push you to move outside your comfort zone.

They want to go out on walks; they want to go to the park. Your dog will push you to go places you might not have considered going before and doing things you hadn’t previously considered. In this way, they push you to face things that might cause you anxiety, but you push through to make them happy. That’s what the unconditional love of a dog can do.

Dogs Provide Structure to Your Day

Cats are great pets too, but they can be left to their own devices for longer periods of time. A dog needs to be taken care of daily. They need potty breaks and they need their meals. This forces you to get you and your dog into a great routine.

In a routine, your dog and you know what to expect. You know when dinner is coming, and you know when you’re going to head out for a walk. Knowing what to expect throughout the day helps you feel better too. People crave structure, and a dog is a great way to get it.

Companionship

Living for yourself is no fun. A dog is the perfect companion to help you fight the depression of isolation. Caring for an animal can help you feel needed. It even helps you take your mind off your own problems and focus your energy on helping another creature.

Your dog may also be a great sounding board. Many pet owners will talk to their pets. This might be a one-sided conversation, but being able to discuss your thoughts freely without judgment can be a great way for you to work through your own ideas. That smiling face and wet nose might be just what you need to work out your personal concerns.

Dogs are Great for Children too

Getting a dog is great for your own mental health, but they can also be great companions for children. Here are some of the ways that children benefit from having a dog:

  • Dogs offer judgment-free companionship
  • Dogs always provide love and can make children feel important
  • Dogs teach children how to build positive relationships with others
  • When properly trained, dogs can also help regulate overactive or over-aggressive children

Dog ownership can be great for both children and adults. There are so many mental and physical benefits, you should consider a dog for your family’s well-being.

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