The Benefits your dog has on Mental Health

Pets and Mental Health

There are many benefits of owning a pet, and that rings just as true for mental health. Depression, anxiety and loneliness are all real issues many of us deal with, and studies have show that feeling of companionship associated with your best friend has lasting, positive influences on your mental health.
Last year, an Australian wide study (1) was conducted, comprised of 3645 dog owners, regarding the different benefits they received from owning a pet (physical, mental and psychosocial).
The large majority of respondents (89%) stated that they experienced increased happiness, along with 74% stating they felt decreased stress and 61% stated they experienced decreased loneliness.89% of the respondents also stated they experienced an increase in walking and physical activity because of their dog.Along with this, pet ownership and interaction has shown to provide extra mental benefits (2), including:

  • Protecting against childhood anxiety
  • An increase in self-esteem and well-being
  • Helping build healthy habits
  • Providing unconditional love
  • Lowering of stress hormones

To read more about these specific benefits, NewPort Academy published a great article titled “10 Ways Pets Support Mental Health”, which we’d recommend.

References:
(1) Powell L, Chia D, McGreevy P, Podberscek AL, Edwards KM, Neilly B, et al. (2018) Expectations for dog ownership: Perceived physical, mental and psychosocial health consequences among prospective adopters. PLoS ONE 13(7): e0200276. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0200276

(2) Newport Academy. (June 1, 2018). 10 Ways Pets Support Mental Health. https://www.newportacademy.com/resources/well-being/pets-and-mental-health/