How dogs improve a person’s mental health

By: Calla Fragassi

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Being a pet owner comes with many benefits, including the fact that they can give their owners better mental and physical health. According to an article from AHA (American Heart Association), dogs can help improve someone’s mental and physical well-being. Dogs have been proven to help lower symptoms of anxiety, increase physical activity, and help with creating structures and routines in a person’s life.

Anxiety Decreases

In times of high stress, like the COVID-19 pandemic, people tend to get bad anxiety. The whole world was shut down, not knowing what was happening next. Millions of people were stuck in their homes for weeks at a time, with no one to go through it with. Many people adopted dogs or other pets during this time to try and get through the rough patches more easily.

“More than 23 million American households — nearly 1 in 5 nationwide — adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).”

Washington Post, January 7, 2022

Having a dog provided companionship for millions of people, which is just what was needed in times of uncertainty. Having someone/ something to ease anxiety is also beneficial for your heart. Having high stress and anxiety levels has been proven to increase risks of heart disease like high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Staying Active

Another way dogs are beneficial to a person’s well-being is by keeping them active. For a dog to live a long, healthy life, they need to get regular physical activity. This will help increase their owner to become more active by going on daily walks, or just walking around a dog park.

Staying active is also proven to help decrease symptoms of depression. Being able to go outside and get fresh air can lower levels of anxiety and improve the amount of sleep you get. Walking your dog outside also makes it more likely that you would interact with others in your community. This will also help with social anxiety or symptoms of depression.

Structure and Routine

More than any other pet, dogs need a routine to thrive. This includes getting up around the same time every day, walks every day, food, medication, and anything else that suits your dog’s needs. Following a certain routine every day with your dog will make it easier for you to create a routine of your own. As they do with dogs, people thrive when they have a structure in their lives or a daily routine. Having a routine can help lower stress and anxiety levels by being organized, and not disordered.

Dogs are more than just cute pets for many people; they are caring animals that can improve a person’s life. This is also why you see service dogs because they can help their owner when they can’t help themselves. Dogs help improve a person’s mental and physical well-being by being good companions.

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