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How a Dog Could Benefit Your Mental Health

An estimated 1 in 4 adults in America suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition. 75% of us report to feeling stressed out at least some of the time. But, waiting times for mental health treatment are massive and growing all of the time. Unfortunately, this looks unlikely to change any time soon. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that you can do to take care of yourself and improve your own mental health. 

Some of these things include exercising, speaking with friends and family members, finding new ways to relax and cope with stress and taking more time for yourself. Another thing that you could consider, is getting a pet. There have been many papers published on the benefits of pets, and especially dogs for your mental health. Let’s take a look at some of them. 

What can I do to improve my mental health?

Your Dog Will Love You

Being loved is always good for your mental health. It improves your confidence, reduces anxiety, boosts your mood and makes you happier. Pets love you, but dogs are uniquely capable of showing it. They’ll give you plenty of attention, they’ll be glad to see you when you get home, and they’ll comfort you when you are down. 


And You’ll Love Them

Own a dog, and you’ve always got someone to love. You’ll care for your dog. You’ll look for signs of advanced aging in dogs and take them to the vet when you need to. You’ll spend hours caring for them, taking care of their health and doing things to make them happy. Having an outlet for your love can be a massive mental health boost. 


Pets Lower Stress Hormones

Our bodies release stress hormones to help us cope. Once, this was to help us survive when predators attacked, or to aid our flight or fight responses. Now, the risk of predators has mostly passed, but we’re still stressed out, and our bodies don’t know what to do. 


Having a pet is relaxing. Sit and stroke your dog, and you’ll be comforted. The steady movement and repetitive motions, as well as the comforting weight, will ease your tension, reduce your blood pressure and lower the stress hormones in your body. Helping you to feel calmer and less stressed out. 


Your Dog Needs You

Your dog needs you to look after them and to do things for them. Being relied on like this can improve your mental health. 


It’ll Give You a Reason to Leave The House

A great way to fight mental health is to get outdoors. But, when we are struggling, we don’t want to go out. You might feel anxious at the idea of leaving and keen to hideaway. When you’ve got a dog, you have to get out for them. While you are out, you’ll get more exercise and fresh air, and have contact with other people. Just the act of getting out, when you’d really rather not, can be a massive boost. 


A Chance to Build Healthy Habits and Routines

Dogs need routines. Which means you will have to develop a routine. You’ll have to make time for your dog throughout the day. Sticking to a routine can help to keep you focused and ease your worries.