Dogs provide more than a cute face to look at! Owning and interacting with dogs is actually beneficial for your health. If you want to improve your mental, emotional, and physical health, consider asking (wo)man’s best friend for a helping paw.
1. Increase Exercise
Dogs are highly energetic and require consistent, daily exercise usually in the form of walks. Without daily exercise, dogs can revert to puppy behaviors such as whining, chewing, and being generally destructive. Their health can deteriorate, just like a human’s can without proper exercise. When you have someone relying on you, you are less likely to back out of a walk. Since they are creatures of habit, dogs will get antsy when they know it is time to take a walk, and their enthusiasm can be contagious.
2. Relieve Stress and Improve Mood
Who can be sad looking at those big puppy eyes? Dogs provide comfort and companionship, as well as a welcome distraction after a long day. While dogs require a fair amount of training and can make mistakes, they are generally fast learners and eager to please. They don’t care if you had a long day at work or if you are going through a tough time; they are just excited to see you and want to play tug-o-war with a stuffed squirrel.
3. Provide Support for Ailments
There is a good reason that dogs are used as companion and guide animals. People with PTSD, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and physical disabilities such as hearing impairments can benefit from a trained service dog. These dogs are specially qualified to help a person through daily activities such as walking or even getting out of bed.
4. Improve Relationships and Interpersonal Skills
Sometimes humans are just difficult to talk with. Dogs understand the struggle. They don’t require small talk or need you to ask questions about their lives. All they need is your attention and devotion. Dogs rely on their pet parents for food, water, walks, playtime, and interactions. In fact, they rely on their humans for just about everything. It requires a great deal of trust, and people can use this model in human-to-human relationships: talk less, listen more, and don’t be afraid to trust those you love.
5. Boost Self-Esteem
When you exercise more, are less stressed, and more secure in your relationships, you will be more confident in yourself and who you are. The support a dog provides can make you understand your importance in the world and make you feel stronger and more self-assured. Dogs won’t let you forget that you are loved, wanted, and highly important.