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Pet Wellness

Dogs & Mental Health: 6 Benefits of Having a Dog

February 20, 2023 - 4 minute read by Mette Iacovou

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It should come as no surprise that dogs are the most popular pet, with over 38.4 million households owning dogs in the United States as of 2022. Dogs truly give us something to laugh and smile about every day. They offer unconditional love, great company and endless entertainment. But did you know that dogs also provide remarkable physical and mental health benefits? Discover the profound connection between dogs and mental health as they provide remarkable benefits to our overall well-being.

6 Ways Dogs Positively Impact Mental Health and Well-Being

A girl lying on a couch with a dog

  1. Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.

  2. People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.

  3. Playing with a dog, cat, or other pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.

  4. Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.

  5. Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.

  6. Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

A person holding a dog

So, what are you waiting for? Embrace the remarkable connection between dogs and mental health. There are so many dogs in shelters just waiting to spoil you with love, while also providing remarkable benefits for your mental health. In return, there is no better way to keep your dog living a long and healthy life than feeding your pup an all-natural, human grade, species specific, just as nature intended diet, all available on Dr. Harvey’s.

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Why do pets help with depression?

Pets can provide invaluable support for individuals struggling with depression. The emotional bond formed between humans and their pets can create a sense of companionship and unconditional love, offering solace during times of distress. Interacting with pets has been shown to release oxytocin and reduce stress hormones, contributing to a calmer and more relaxed state of mind. Taking care of a pet can also instill a sense of purpose and responsibility, helping to break the cycle of negative thoughts that often accompany depression. Furthermore, pets offer a non-judgmental presence, allowing individuals to express their emotions without fear of criticism or rejection. Whether it's through playful interactions, soothing cuddles, or simply the comforting presence of a loyal companion, pets have a remarkable ability to lift spirits and bring moments of joy to those grappling with depression.

Are people with dogs happier?

Research suggests that people who have dogs often experience increased levels of happiness and overall well-being. Interacting with dogs can lead to the release of oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins, which are neurotransmitters associated with feelings of pleasure and happiness. The presence of a loyal and affectionate companion can reduce feelings of loneliness and provide emotional support, contributing to a sense of contentment and happiness.

Additionally, owning a dog often encourages physical activity and outdoor exercise, which are known to have positive effects on mental health. Regular walks and playtime with dogs can boost mood, reduce stress, and improve overall quality of life.

Do dogs lower your stress levels?

Yes, interacting with dogs has been shown to lower stress levels. The presence of dogs, their companionship, and physical interactions trigger the release of oxytocin, reducing cortisol levels and promoting a calmer, more relaxed state of mind.

Why are dogs so comforting?

Dogs are comforting due to their unconditional love, non-judgmental nature, and ability to provide emotional support and physical affection, which reduces stress and creates a sense of companionship and security.

About The Author

Mette Iacovou

Mette Iacovou is the customer service manager at Dr. Harvey's. Mette has worked in the customer service industry for over 30 years. Mette holds a bachelor's degree in Communication from Rutgers University and a Pet Food Nutrition Certification.

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