5 Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

If you have dogs you already know the joy and love they bring to your life. Now science is confirming just how good they really are for you — both mentally and physically.

Science has shown that dogs have an overwhelmingly positive effect on our mental health. Just petting an animal for a short period can boost your mood and sense of well-being! Owning one can reduce feelings of isolation, feelings of loneliness and even depression.

Check out our top 5  ways dogs help you feel better and enjoy a positive outlook below

5. Dogs reduce the chances you’ll develop cardiovascular problems

When researchers tracked the recovery of patients who’d suffered from heart attacks, they found that patients with dogs recovered more quickly. Other studies have shown that dogs help reduce high blood pressure better than medications do in some cases. These benefits probably relate to a dog’s ability to lower your cortisol levels, but the actual mechanism at work isn’t yet clear.

4. Dogs are a wonderful distraction from the perils of day-to-day life

Top 5 Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

Some of the best stress-relieving activities simply take your mind off your worries for a while. Often, you’ll find that your problems seem a little less daunting after taking a break and revisiting the issue later. Dogs provide a great way to do this, as they’re always ready to play or sit in your lap for a while, allowing you to take a brief mental vacation.

3. Provides safety and peace of mind

Top 5 Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

Many times, dogs are adopted for their territorial qualities, providing many people with a sense of security. Dogs also provide a sense of security in terms of health, such as detecting low blood sugar levels and oncoming seizures even before the person recognizes them.

2. Teaches responsibility

Top 5 Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

Dog ownership enables many – from adults to young children – to learn basic responsibility. From refilling the food bowl to giving the dog a bath, dog owning coaches responsibility because a dog fully relies on its owner for attention, meals, and cleanliness.

 1. Petting your dog is a stress-relieving activity

Top 5 Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

The simple and repetitive act of petting a dog helps to reduce stress, which is part of the rationale behind the use of dogs in some therapy contexts. In fact, petting a dog (it doesn’t even have to be your dog) helps to reduce stress in two ways: As when you gaze into a dog’s eyes, petting a dog triggers your brain to release oxytocin, and it also reduces the amount of cortisol (one of the primary hormones involved in the human stress response) released too.