It was National Puppy Day recently. Made up holiday? Of course, it was. Did I care? Heck, no. I think we all know pets make us happy, but the bonus is dogs can help reduce stress too. Read on for all the benefits of how owning a pet makes our lives happier and healthier.
My dogs aren’t young anymore, but they bring my husband and and I incredibly joy. Each night, Daysun and I spend a few minutes looking at cute photos and short videos of animals on Reddit while our two dogs, Penny and Lucy, are curled up around us. It’s worth it to take a “paws” from politics occasionally and focus on our four-legged friends.
Dogs Can Help Reduce Stress
What We Love About Our Dogs
Whenever we’re sick they just want to comfort us and stay close. Actually, they just want to be next to or near us wherever we are in the house.
They have sweet routines, which we honor. If my husband and I are walking the dogs together, Lucy prefers me to hold her leash while at night she always rests her head on my husband’s chest for a pre-sleep snuggle.
Penny likes me to carry her up the stairs to our front door and for 16 years (yup, she’s that old) has slept next to me on the right side of the bed. Just like my most of us have sides of the bed we prefer, she does to.
And they’re troopers when it comes to wearing a dog costume on Christmas and Halloween.
Here’s a few tips from Erin Askeland, Training and Behavioral Expert at Camp Bow Wow on the benefits of how a furry family member can reduce the stress we experience every day.
Dogs Can Help Reduce Stress
Some studies show that people begin to feel less anxious after spending less than an hour with an animal. There are endless benefits from lowering your stress level and while the things that we find stressful in our lives are often hard to eliminate, adding an animal to your life can help.
- General Benefits: There’s a reason that they say dog is man’s best friend. Having a pet, not limited to dogs, is something that everyone should experience at some point in their life. Pets can be calming, mood lifting, empathetic, and so much more. They teach you how to be selfless and responsible as you are caring over another life (for those of you without children). Generally speaking, they make you happy.
- Helps with Depression: In some cases, therapists suggest that patients suffering from depression adopt a pet. An animal will love you unconditionally and be a great friend and listener. People with depression often benefit from having a pet, as the animal can help them get out of the house.
- Health Benefits: There are other health benefits associated with pet ownership (particularly dogs). Many studies show that owning a pet has a positive impact on cardiovascular disease, hypertension, infection control, allergies, stress related problems, blood pressure, and psychological issues.
- Engaged Mind: A key to a healthy mind, especially for those who are elderly, is staying engaged with others. A pet is often a conversation starter and being out with a pet often warrants questions or comments from passersby. Bringing your dog to a dog park is a great way to meet new people with similar interests.
- Build Your Children’s Confidence: Having a dog in the home can build confidence and manage anxiety and stress in children. Children who struggle with reading or math can gain confidence when reading aloud or reciting multiplication tables to their dog.
- Excuse to Play: Training and playing with your dog also provides mental stimulation, helps unleash creativity and alleviates stress. Having a dog will also encourage you to exercise as you’ll need to walk your him or her regularly.
- Routine: Having a daily schedule reduces stress for any individual. Having a dog that relies on you at specific times each day (feeding, walking, and sleeping) can help establish a routine.
Since my husband and I volunteer with an animal rescue we always encourage others to adopt. You can learn more about how to adopt a dog from our favorite rescues, The Rescue Train and Marley’s Mutts dog rescue.