Dogs and Depression: Ways A Dog Can Make You Happier

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Want to take better care of your mental and emotional wellbeing and that of your loved ones? One of the best things you can do, according to science, is bring a dog into your family. This article will explain just why a dog can do wonders for your mental health in more ways than just being a cute and fluffy companion.

Dogs can boost our mood, Christmas golden retriever puppies

Dogs have a calming effect on us. They can help slow down our breathing and take our mind off the ups and downs of daily life. For example, imagine you had a rough day at work or school where it’s been just one annoyance after another. Thankfully, you finally made it home and are ready to decompress from a long, stressful day. You open your door, walk in your house, and — voilà! — your dogs excitedly rush toward you, tails wagging!

At that instant, all you want to do is pet your dog and give them the love they deserve. (Maybe they even give you a little lick on the face in return!) Next thing you know, you’ll find yourself with a big smile on your face and feel a whole lot better. Coming home to a friend that loves you unconditionally and exactly the way you are can lift anyone’s spirits.

Dogs take away stress

When it comes to natural forms of stress release, there aren’t many better options than a smart, loyal dog. Even the Daily Mail agrees that petting your dog is one of the best stress-relieving activities around.

After all, it’s no coincidence that dogs are the most common form of support animal for those with emotional issues, health issues like seizures, or even those with disabilities like blindness.

Coming home to your best friend and playing with them can help you forget about your troubles and focus on the present moment. That’s actually a key reason why even workplaces are making big strides to become dog-friendly!

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Dogs can make you more empathetic, Christmas golden retriever puppies

Sometimes, it can feel like it’s a dog-eat-dog world (no pun intended) where you have to constantly “watch your back.” While it’s never a bad idea to take time for self-care and to prioritize yourself, it is important to keep in mind the value of empathy in staying connected with others.

That’s where dogs can help you and your family. Scottish researchers have shown that owning dogs “has an important role in children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development, mental health, well-being, and quality of life.” In fact, having a connection with pets as a kid:

“Encourages children to participate in pet care behavior may promote attachment between children and their pet, which in turn may have a range of positive outcomes for both children (such as reduced aggression, better well-being, and quality of life) and pets (such as humane treatment).” It even promotes secure emotional attachments to others.

4. Dogs encourage you to exercise

Recently, Michigan State University released a report that showed 60 percent of dog owners who walk their dogs regularly met the federal criteria for moderate/vigorous exercise. About half of those who walk their dogs reportedly exercised for about 30 minutes on average per day, at least five days per week.

When you compare that to people who don’t own dogs, only about a third of them get exercise that regularly. And it’s no surprise that people who are physically healthy tend to be mentally healthy as well!

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