Why Dogs Are Good For Mental Health

Pets are loved by millions of people all around the world and considered members of the family! We take pleasure in their company and love playing with them, taking them on walks, and even conversing and singing to them.

There is evidence to support the notion that pet attachment improves human health and fosters a greater sense of community.

It’s no secret that having a pet may make you happier. Dogs, according to studies, soothe loneliness, lower stress, anxiety, and depression, promote physical activity, and boost general health. People who own dogs, for instance, typically have lower blood pressure and are less likely to suffer from heart disease. It has been demonstrated that simply playing with a dog increases levels of the feel-good brain chemicals oxytocin and dopamine, fostering nice sensations and a link between the owner and their pet.

Why are dogs able to reduce anxiety?

How do dogs aid in reducing anxiety? You don’t have to go through the training of a mental assistance dog to enjoy a cuddly ball of fluff’s company. Positive interactions with a companion animal raise the brain’s oxytocin levels, which lower stress and improve wellbeing. Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” aids in the development of strong social ties. Spending time with your beloved pet dog might cause an oxytocin rush, which lowers your anxiety and leaves you feeling a little less worried. The attachment does not need to be with a human.

Why are dogs helpful in treating depression?

Dogs have many health advantages that can help with depression. Their proximity raises oxytocin levels and serotonin synthesis, which reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Positive emotions are also increased, and we may become more trusting of others around us as a result. Additionally, our animal best companions can offer us the necessary emotional support. Even the presence of dogs can reduce heart rate.

Dogs also make us do things like go outside and exercise, which helps lessen the symptoms of depression. Simply having a dog and taking care of it might boost your wellbeing and sense of self-worth.

When it comes to their health advantages, different dog breeds don’t differ significantly. Generally speaking, you should choose a dog to aid with your depression in the same manner that you would any dog.


Robert Evans from Dogpedia here. I’m extremely dedicated about assisting you in taking better care of your dog by offering the greatest advice. I assist more dog owners daily in making wise choices to ensure their pet has a long and healthy life!

Which animal can reduce anxiety the best?

There are some animals that are particularly good at easing human worry, even though most animals offer comfort and a strong sense of responsibility:

  • Dogs and cats are the most popular animals for easing anxiety. 10
  • Consider a pet that can live in a small cage, such a guinea pig or a hamster, if you or your family members are allergic or you don’t have enough space for a dog or a cat.
  • A bird may enrich your home with its music and make a wonderful companion.
  • Since they don’t require much space, little turtles and even bugs are other possibilities to think about.
  • Additionally, some rabbits can even be toilet trained, so they make excellent housemates.

How do animals help with depression?

Every pet owner and animal enthusiast is aware of the special attachment formed when a furry buddy joins their life. Many people treat their pets like members of their family and will go to great lengths to keep them content and healthy. Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary assistants can help with it. When it comes to the wellbeing and protection of pets, they are the respected experts. Pet owners can receive advice from veterinarians and veterinary assistants on how to housebreak, feed, and train their animals. In a veterinarian’s workplace, veterinary assistants have a crucial job. They are the ones who take care of and are responsible for the welfare of the animals. Under the direction of veterinarians, scientists, and veterinary technicians, they carry out ordinary responsibilities. They can also offer solace to pet owners when a pet becomes ill or passes away because they are frequently the first person pet owners speak to when they enter the office. 1

Veterinarians, however, can interact with animal lovers in a variety of ways. Many veterinarians take part in outreach projects that bring pets into facilities like nursing homes or rehabilitation centers where individuals may be suffering from depression or other ailments. The company of a pet can benefit those who are suffering from depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Animals typically provide unending love and company, uplift the mood, and reduce stress. Lethargy, solitude, and ruminating are just a few symptoms that companion animals can help with. 2

Do dogs alleviate anxiety?

The majority of pet owners are aware of the instant benefits that come from having companion animals in their lives. Though many of us are still unaware of them, cuddling with a furry buddy can also have positive effects on our physical and emotional health. Only recently have studies started to look into the advantages of the link between humans and animals from a scientific standpoint.

Animals have evolved to be highly sensitive to us, our behavior, and our emotions. Dogs can comprehend many of the words we speak, for instance, but they are much more adept at reading our tone of voice, body language, and gestures. A devoted dog will also glance into your eyes, just like a close human companion would, to assess your mental condition and attempt to comprehend what you are thinking and feeling (and to work out when the next walk or treat might be coming, of course).

Pets, especially dogs and cats, help soothe loneliness, lower stress, anxiety, and depression, promote play and exercise, and even enhance cardiovascular health. Children who take care of an animal tend to be more secure and active as they age. Pets are a vital source of companionship for senior citizens. But maybe most importantly, having a pet in your life can provide you true happiness and unwavering love.

Any pet can improve your health

While it is true that persons who own pets frequently benefit from better health than those who do not, a pet need not be a dog or a cat. If you want a cuddly pet to cuddle with but are allergic to other animals or have a small living area, a rabbit can be the perfect choice. If you’re an older adult, birds can promote social contact and assist you maintain mental acuity. Reptiles like snakes, lizards, and others can be fascinating company. Even looking at aquarium fish can ease stress in your muscles and slow your heart rate.

Research has revealed that:

  • When compared to people without pets, pet owners are less likely to experience depression.
  • When under stress, pet owners’ blood pressure is lower than that of non-pet owners. According to one study, adopting a dog from a shelter resulted in a significant drop in blood pressure within five months for those with borderline hypertension.
  • Serotonin and dopamine, which are calming and relaxing chemicals, can be increased by playing with a dog, cat, or other pet.
  • Compared to people without dogs, pet owners have reduced triglyceride and cholesterol levels, two signs of heart disease.
  • Patients with pets survive heart attacks longer than those without.
  • Compared to people without pets, pet owners over 65 visit their doctor 30% less frequently.

The fact that dogs satisfy the fundamental human need for contact is one of the causes of these therapeutic effects. After engaging with pets, even seasoned offenders in prison exhibit long-lasting behavioral changes, with many of them exhibiting mutual affection for the first time. When you’re nervous or anxious, petting, caressing, or otherwise interacting with a loving animal will quickly relax and calm you down. The company of a pet can also help to alleviate loneliness, and the majority of dogs are wonderful stimuli for healthy exercise, which can significantly improve mood and alleviate sadness.

How do animals lessen tension?

According to studies on dogs and mental health, touching and playing with animals lowers hormones linked to stress. And these advantages can start to materialize after just five minutes of pet interaction. Pets are thus a great resource for people who struggle with anxiety.

Playing with a dog or cat increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the body. These hormones help to relax and calm down the nervous system. These “happy hormones” are released when we grin and chuckle at our pets’ adorable antics.

Canines aid in preventing suicidal thoughts?

  • Suicidal conduct frequently arises from sentiments of alienation, burdensomeness, and hopelessness for change.
  • A dog as a pet helps lessen loneliness and despair. According to recent research, this can lessen suicidal tendencies.
  • The strength and type of the relationship between a dog and its owner will determine whether a dog is likely to reduce the owner’s risk of suicide.
  • The actor Mickey Rourke’s experience serves as an example of how a dog might be useful in suicide prevention.

Stories of dogs saving people’s lives are commonplace. This occurs in a variety of circumstances, such as rescuing individuals from drowning, tracking down the missing and hurt, restraining wild animals, raising the alert in case of fire, and many more. According to some recent studies, dogs may now have another life-saving skill to their repertoire—that is, they may be able to reduce the risk of suicide.

The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide

An investigation into the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide was led by Valerie Douglas of North Dakota State University. Numerous factors, such as depression and loneliness, have been found to be predictors of suicide. According to this particular hypothesis, if three things come together, people are more likely to wish to kill themselves: 1) a sensation of not belonging; 2) the belief that they are a burden to others; and 3) a sense of pessimism that these circumstances would never improve.

Since owners frequently say that their pet gives them companionship in the form of a creature to adore, it is possible that a pet dog can impact and lessen the strength of these elements. This suggests that owning a pet may enhance a person’s sense of belongingness and so lessen suicidal thoughts. Additionally, having a pet might change how burdensome someone feels because pet owners frequently feel a feeling of obligation and purpose in providing for their animals. This sense of accountability and significance can lessen feelings of burden and, as a result, act as a barrier against suicidal thoughts.

Can Pet Dogs Reduce Suicidal Tendencies?

In this latest study, 269 people were assessed, 187 of whom said they owned pets, and 87 of whom said they did not. Each participant completed four different inventories: one assessed feelings of belonging and burden; two examined the type and degree of their pet attachment; and the fourth assessed their propensity for suicidal behavior.

Overall, the findings demonstrated that those who had close relationships with their dogs were less likely to engage in suicide conduct.

However, not all pet owners benefited equally. People exhibit a variety of emotions for their dogs, ranging from deep attachment to worry, anxiety, or annoyance (example: “If I can’t get my pet to show interest in me, I get frustrated or angry.”). Even to the point of saying, “I become scared when my pet gets too close to me,” some individuals avoid getting close to their animals. Such people did not exhibit the advantages of pet ownership in terms of lowering suicidal tendencies.

The authors’ verdict

We discovered that a strong attachment with a pet was linked to lessened burden feelings and a lower chance of suicide. A stronger sense of not belonging and a higher risk of suicide were linked to more avoidant pet connection. Higher feelings of burden, higher feelings of not belonging, and higher risk of suicide were all linked to having a more neurotic attachment to one’s pet.

The Case of Mickey Rourke

The actor Mickey Rourke is a fascinating example of how a dog may shield a person from suicidal thoughts. He received the Golden Globe Award for best actor on January 11, 2009, for his work in Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. It is customary for actors to thank their families or God in their acceptance speeches for such honors, but Rourke praised his dogs instead. He claimed that if it weren’t for the therapeutic benefits of his bond with his dogs, he could have committed suicide long before he had the opportunity to take that honor.