As we know, dogs are one of the best sources of companionship and unconditional love. They give us reasons to laugh and connect with others while providing us with health benefits at the same time. Chronic stress has been known to be a gateway for an array of other health problems and having a pet, such as a dog or cat, can have a very strong correlation to relieving that stress. Various studies have shown that pets are good for both our minds and our bodies. For example, dogs especially have an uncanny ability of making us laugh and the Mayo Clinic found that laughing activates and relieves the body’s stress response while relaxing tense muscles. Dogs reduce stress in humans in many other ways, too, so keep reading to find out how!
Unless you’re someone that really dislikes animals or is someone that is too busy to properly care for a pet, dogs and other pets can provide terrific social support, stress relief, and other health benefits – perhaps even more than people can. Below are just some of the many ways that dogs can help lower your stress levels:
- Improve your mood: For all of the animal lovers out there, you know that it is virtually impossible to remain in a bad mood when you look into a pair of loving puppy eyes.
- Reduce blood pressure: Research from the mid-1980’s has shown that there are positive physiological effects, especially lowered blood pressure, to petting dogs and the social interaction with companion animals.
- Encourage exercise: Dog owners do spend more time walking than non-pet owners and whether we walk our dogs because they need it, or we are more likely to enjoy our walks with companionship, this exercise is good for stress management and overall health. Owning a dog can be credited with increasing these benefits.
- Provide social support: Increasing our network of friends and acquaintances has great stress management benefits. When we take our furry friends out on walks, having a dog can make us more approachable and give others a reason to stop and talk, thereby increasing the number of people we meet.
- Offer company and unconditional love: Dogs can and will be there for you in ways that people simply cannot. Dogs can offer love and companionship while enjoying comfortable silences, keeping secrets, snuggling like no other, and being the best antidote to someone’s loneliness.
Each of these benefits that owning a dog can bring to someone, can reduce the amount of stress that people experience in response to feelings of social isolation and lack of social support from other people. Remember to thank your pet for all the health benefits they give to you by taking care of their health, too! Regular wellness visits to the vet, annual vaccinations, along with consistent dental care can help keep your pet well, happy, and with you for many years to come.