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The power of dogs on mental health

By gapnsw.com.au
Dog ownership comes with some powerful health benefits. The physical and mental health benefits are far reaching, and the ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling is now backed by science.

Dogs can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, alleviate feelings of loneliness and also encourage movement which is great for cardiovascular health. The biggest benefit that dog owners have noted is the joy and unconditional love that they bring into your life.

Here’s what the science is telling us:

-         Pet owners (of any animal type) are less likely to suffer from depression
-         In stressful situations, people with pets have lower blood pressure than those without pets
-         Playing with your pet can give you a hit of serotonin and dopamine which in turn provides a level of calm and relaxation
-         Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without
-         Pet owners have lower indicators of heart disease

The benefits of dog ownership on your life and lifestyle can be significant, it’s no wonder 40% of Aussie homes own at least one dog. Here’s some more benefits of having a pooch in your home:

Stress relief

In the age of ‘working from home’, we no longer leave our stress at the office door when we leave. Simply patting or cuddling a dog can lower your blood pressure and help you keep calm in stressful situations.
 
Getting your steps up
Taking your pooch for their daily walk or run can be a fun and rewarding way to get in your daily steps and raise your heart rate. Studies have shown that dog owners are more likely to meet their daily exercise goals than those without.

Having a companion

Studies have shown that companionship can help prevent illness and can prolong your life expectancy. Since isolation has now become a part of the norm (thanks COVID), feelings of loneliness and depression are not uncommon. Having a companion can give you some purpose, structure and take the focus away from other problems.

Bring joy later in life

For older or retired owners, having a dog can bring pleasure, boost morale and provide a sense of belonging and fulfilment long after the kids have moved away.

Teach kids 

Dogs can help teach children responsibility and empathy. Children can also talk to their pet without external fears of rejection which will help build their confidence.

While owning a pet is a major commitment, the benefits far outweigh the cost. They bring so much more than love and joy, by functioning as our personal trainer, silent therapist (who don’t judge), blood pressure medication, snuggle buddies and true partners in crime.