5 Ways Dogs Help Your Mental Health

There’s a reason the number of dog adoptions increased dramatically during the pandemic. The human-dog connection is a strong one—and caring for a pup also brings huge benefits to your mental health. Here are just some of the ways your Best Dog Friend boosts your well-being.

Stress relief. Research has shown that even just petting a friendly dog can decrease your blood pressure and relax muscle tension. Playing with a pet can also reduces levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, and raise levels of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin—all of which help calm your nervous system.

Sense of purpose. A dog requires lots of care, but all of that feeding, bathing, petting, and playing helps you, too. Caring for an animal makes you feel needed and wanted, giving your life more meaning. If that isn’t enough good news, these positive feelings also help reduce depression and anxiety.

Emotional companionship. You see your dog as your best friend because they love you unconditionally. Dogs don’t care how you look, how talented you are, or how successful you are—they’re just always happy to be with you. That kind of emotional support has been proven to not only decrease feelings of loneliness, but also increase self-esteem.



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