You’ve probably heard that dog owners are happier than non-pet owners. While that claim is true to some extent, the boundless perks of owning a dog are downright undeniable.
Dogs are uplifting creatures by nature. They offer their owners unconditional acceptance, empathy, and love, and they live with the mindful approach to life that many humans strive for. Although they come in all shapes and sizes, canines have one thing in common: They bring us mood-lifting benefits without even trying.
If you’re considering adding a pup to your family, read on! Below, we’ll cover five proven ways a dog can lift your spirits!
1. Dogs Provide Companionship
Canines are loyal companions. According to various studies, companionship often leads to a longer, happier, healthier life for humans.
Unsurprisingly, pet owners over the age of 65 visit the doctor 30% less than those without pets. These are encouraging statistics for older men and women who are thinking of adopting a four-legged friend.
2. Dogs Ward Off Depression
Individuals struggling with depression may experience a decrease in symptoms simply by bringing a dog into their homes. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), depression affects approximately 40 million men and women in the U.S.
While treatment is often necessary to combat this common mental health condition, pups have been known to play a big part in the reduction of symptoms. Here’s why:
- Dogs Encourage a Healthier Lifestyle. Even if you don’t feel like going out-and-about, canines require exercise. Movement and spending time outdoors will likely lift your spirits and help you bond with your pooch. Best of all, you’ll get into a routine, which will make it increasingly easy to make your way outside each day. Those adorable puppy dog eyes are also pretty convincing!
- Dogs Make Us More Social. Depression can be incredibly isolating. Dogs promote socialization by getting us out of the house. You’ve probably noticed that people are quick to approach dogs and their owners. After all, who can resist a cuddly canine? For individuals dealing with depression, socialization can reduce feelings of isolation, give them purpose, and make them feel more connected and optimistic.
- Dogs Increase Our Self-Esteem. Low self-esteem can have a massive impact on a person’s mental health. From self-loathing to decreased productivity and stunted personal growth, people dealing with depression often struggle to see their worth. Dogs give us purpose and have the ability to improve our quality of life. More on this topic later!
3. Dogs Decrease Our Anxiety
It will probably come as no surprise to learn that anxiety is on the rise. In a nutshell, anxiety is our body’s response to stress and worry about the future. In our fast-paced world, it’s virtually impossible not to feel the ever-mounting pressure. Dogs live in the moment with no fears of what’s to come, so humans can benefit from following their pups’ example. Plus, having a beloved pet nearby is a soothing experience. Petting your pooch can lead to less stress and inner peace while also lowering blood pressure. Spending time together will boost your serotonin and dopamine levels, resulting in a calmer, more relaxed you.
4. Dogs Give Us a Sense of Purpose
People of all ages have an innate desire to serve a purpose throughout every stage of their lives. Dog ownership is a great way to instill a sense of purpose for everyone from young children to retired folks and elderly men and women. Our pets rely on us for consistent care, love, and attention. As their owners, we are given the opportunity to spoil them with affection, return their unconditional love, and make their lives fulfilling and fun every day. What could be more purposeful—and rewarding—than that?
5. Dogs Boost Our Vitality
It’s easy to miss out on the simple joys in life when we go through our days on autopilot. As we get older, daily routines tend to become less active. Owning a dog can lead to increased energy and a boost in overall well-being. Plus, pups promote playfulness and joy, which we can all use a dose of on a daily basis.
Along with the mood-boosting perks of dog ownership, there are a whole host of additional ways canines enhance our lives. Check out our popular post, 17 Beautiful Benefits of Owning a Dog, if you need more proof that pups are pretty much the perfect pet. We might be biased, but we simply can’t imagine life without these cuddly, caring creatures.
W.R. Purche once said, “Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.” We wholeheartedly agree!