Dogs have certainly won the hearts of humanity. Why else would we spend the money and effort we do on taking care of them? If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 10 years its that dogs can play a vital role in mental health for people. If you’ve been considering getting a dog, this is the post for you.
Besides being cute and cuddly there are a lot of reasons directly related to both physical and mental health on why you should get a dog. Properly taken care of they can be essential for happiness in a world full of what many consider to be bad people.
1) Exercise: Having a dog will get you out of the house and moving which helps you both physically and mentally. At the least, they need to be taken outside several times a day for using the bathroom.
2) Establish a Routine: For those who thrive on routine, having a dog plays right into that and helps keep you on track. Being responsible for another life that also has it’s routine will help you establish a healthy routine for getting things done. At the very least even if you have nothing else to do, that dog will need to go to the bathroom and be fed which is enough to help many people, especially the elderly or kids.
3) Unconditional Love: In a world where nearly everything is conditional, the love we get from dogs surpasses all. They’re always happy to see you even if it’s only been 20 minutes. They’re always there to cuddle when you’re sad or crying.
4) Lesson Allergies: Some studies show that regular interaction with a dog in childhood will lessen the possibility of allergies as an adult, which can be extremely hard to live with
5) Non-Judgemental Friends: Humans are good at judging but because we operate differently dogs just don’t. You can have all your weird personality quarks and a dog isn’t going to shame you for them. Just being in a space with someone who will just be with you with your weirdness instead of trying to convince you out of it can make a huge difference in your ability to work through things.
6) Relaxation: Few things are more relaxing than a nap with your dog friend or even a walk. I can’t even count the number of times my dog has managed to calm me down when I’m either very angry or very sad.
7) Depression: Since depression is on the rise, it’s worth mentioning that dogs help a lot with that. Who can be depressed with their furry friend smiling in their face? There are many people who report a reduction in depression or even suicidal feelings when they have a dog in their lives.
8) Security: This is more for big dogs, but dogs provide excellent security for both home and person. People think twice about aggressing against people with dogs, that’s just facts because no one likes being bit.
9) Weight Loss: I made this separate from exercise because not everyone who needs more exercise needs to lose weight. Dogs can be incredible motivators to stay active which will help you lose weight.
10) Social Life: For those with social anxiety, dogs can help be a great icebreaker as well as a way to meet new people. There are only certain people who like dogs and if you like dogs, your bound to have something in common with the other dog owners or even just dog lovers you meet.
I could go on but this is enough to prove my point. Despite the troubles they can come with (sometimes sickness, sometimes destruction) dogs are worth the trouble especially for the people who own them. I went about 5 months without a dog this year and I could feel a distinct difference in my mental health and ability to cope with stresses.