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Dog ownership: the natural mental health remedy!

Updated: Apr 10

Your pets are part of your family. It doesn’t take long to develop an emotional attachment to them that’s no different to the way you love another human. And don’t under-estimate what that bond with your furry buddy is doing for your overall mental health and well-being. The bond between humans and dogs has been a longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship, with numerous studies highlighting the positive impact on mental health.

One of the most obvious aspects of owning a dog is the companionship they offer. Dogs are known for their loyalty and unconditional love, creating a sense of connection and reducing feelings of loneliness. A study by the American Heart Association found that people with dogs tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease.

The mere presence of a pet companion can also alleviate stress and promote a sense of security. Interacting with a dog releases feel-good brain chemicals oxytocin and dopamine, both of which are associated with bonding, social connection and feeling more positive. In turn, this can help to create a calming effect on you - the owner. 

Regular physical activity is another important component of maintaining good mental health, and dogs are excellent motivators for staying active. Daily walks in the fresh air, playtime, and actively participating in exercise routines, contribute to reduced anxiety and depression whilst raising your mood and even aiding sleep. The responsibility of caring for a pet also establishes a routine and structure, offering a sense of purpose and stability. 

Moreover, the social benefits of dog ownership cannot be overstated. Walking a dog in the neighbourhood or visiting a dog park facilitates social interactions, fostering a sense of community. This increased socialisation can combat feelings of isolation and build a support network for you and your fellow dog owners.

It’s no surprise that an increasing number of offices now allow a pet or two into the work environment. Studies have shown that pets in the workplace help reduce stress and improve employee satisfaction. 

At work or at play, it’s widely accepted dogs and dog ownership can be a holistic approach to enhancing mental health. The companionship, physical activity, and social connections forged through this bond, contribute to a happier and healthier life. As society recognises the importance of mental well-being, embracing the positive impact of canine companionship is a positive step towards a more fulfilling and balanced lifestyle.

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