Your mental health and dogs 

Many struggle to manage the stress and anxiety of daily responsibilities. These pressures can lead to feelings of strain and impact mental health negatively. Owning a pet could positively impact mental health during challenging times. Pets offer companionship, which can reduce loneliness and provide comfort and support. Caring for a pet can also promote healthy habits and provide a sense of purpose.

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Dogs and Human History

Dogs and humans share a close connection that has developed over time. The domesticated dog is now typical in many countries, and the relationship between dogs and humans has continued to evolve. The Waltham Pet Care Science Institute researches the bond between humans and their pets, highlighting the importance of this unique relationship. 

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Why do dogs make the best pets for people?

Puppies today are often born into human households, making them familiar and comfortable around people from a young age. Spending a lot of time together, dogs and their owners form a close bond and connection. Caring for a pet can bring purpose to daily life, particularly for those living alone. Dogs can interpret their owners’ communicative signals and often sense when something is wrong, adapting their behavior to reduce stress. Due to their history of living near humans, dogs can understand our intentions, attitudes, gestures, looks, and even emotions. 

Do dogs help with anxiety?

Owning a dog can have positive social benefits for families and individuals. For those living alone, companion dogs can offer much-needed company and alleviate feelings of loneliness. Physical contact with a pet can provide emotional relief, from feeling their temperature to stroking their fur. Dogs can offer reassurance by being a constant source of support, no matter the time of day or night. Having a dog by your side can provide comfort and security in these challenging times.

Take your dog for a walk and see how it can help reduce stress and anxiety.

How else does having a dog improve your mental health?

Pets can trigger attachment signals in humans due to their physical features. These features include a giant head and eyes compared to their body size and the ability to share a gaze with humans. Sharing a gaze with a pet can boost oxytocin, resulting in positive emotions and lower heart rates. In 1980, a study showed that having pets was associated with a higher one-year survival rate after hospitalization for certain types of heart disease. This study was groundbreaking at the time. The Waltham Pet Care Science Institute researches the benefits of pet ownership for both pets and humans.

Walks with your Dog

Taking your dog for daily walks while following local restrictions can provide exercise, fresh air, and the chance to interact with other dog owners at a safe distance. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and allow your dog to burn off energy.  All dogs need physical activity and time to explore. While it’s recommended to walk your dog at least twice a day, this may not always be possible due to restrictions. Regular walks can also offer a change of scenery from being cooped up at home, which is especially important during the pandemic.

Responsibility for dog ownership

Owning a dog requires a significant financial commitment and daily attention, which can be time-consuming. However, it can also benefit mental health by promoting social interaction with groomers, vets, and other dog owners. Caring for a pet can help establish structure and routine in our daily lives, significantly when routines are disrupted. While there’s no easy solution to our mental health, dogs can help ease anxiety, particularly during difficult times.

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