There are a lot of physical health benefits to owning a dog, but many people overlook the fact that there are mental health benefits for dog owners as well. Animal lovers will know that pets may need a lot of care, but they also add a little something to their lives. Pets have a way of helping anyone get through the hardships of life.
According to a study conducted by Elliptical Reviews, dog parents believe that the health benefits of owning a pet don’t stop at the physical level. The survey polled over 1,000 participants, comprised of pet owners and non-pet owners alike. A high percentage of dog owners who answered the polls shared that their pet reduces their feelings of loneliness, stress, sadness, and depression. In addition, 29 percent of dog owners admitted to being more social compared to the 13 percent of non-pet owners.
Many studies have found the same conclusion as Elliptical Reviews. Past studies have found that dog owners are less likely to get depressed, reported Help Guide. Doggy parents have higher levels of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that play a big part in a person’s mood. Regular serotonin levels manifest in happier, calmer moods in people, explains Healthline, while dopamine gives people that sense of satisfaction after achieving a goal, giving people motivation for the future. Dogs can trigger the release of these neurotransmitters by encouraging their parents to exercise or through a little touch therapy, like hugging or petting.
Another way dogs can help their parents maintain their mental health is by opening them up for more social interaction. Since dogs encourage physical activity, their owners often go out and breathe fresh air.
Happy #NationalDogDay! Did you know owning a dog can be good for your heart? Dog owners are more likely to get the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise. Here's how you can stay active with your pet → https://t.co/NXcydWrcFe pic.twitter.com/mFbWUjyxvf
— American Heart MO (@AHA_Missouri) August 26, 2018
In fact, Elliptical Reviews found that pet owners were more likely to have a gym membership, go jogging, or go on walks — all of which provide plenty of opportunities to interact with other people. There are also dog-centric public areas, like dog parks or pet stores in which like-minded pet lovers can mingle with each other. Social interaction is an aspect to daily life that people usually overlook, but is essential to maintaining their mental health. Dogs remind humans how vital it is to literally go out, smell the flowers, and interact with the world and people around us.
If any of the studies discussed above proves anything, it’s that the benefits of having any pet, dog or otherwise, far surpasses that cost of caring for one. Dogs and any pet, for that matter, give back more than they receive from their human parents.