How Dogs Can Improve Your Physical and Mental Health

There is more to “man’s best friend” than taking walks in the park, and the occasional play time. Did you know that having a dog may improve your physical and mental well-being? Well, it’s true! For those of you who have ever owned a pet, you probably know how much fun and lovingness they bring into your household.

Dogs are often said to have the ability to ease loneliness, reduce anxiety, encourage physical activity, and work as a stress reducer. When you care for a dog, you can be almost assured of having a source of unconditional love in your life.

Still not convinced? In this article, we’re going to discuss the different ways your dog can improve your physical and mental health.

Petting your dog reduces stress

Not much of an outdoors person? Don’t worry; you can pet your furry friend anytime you want, and both enjoy the benefits. Focus on rhythmic petting by gently stroking your dog’s soft fur and feel the warmth and joy radiated from their body. This simple connection with your pet can help release oxytocin, the hormone related to stress and anxiety.

Oxytocin not only helps reduce blood pressure, it is also known to lower cortisol levels as well. So, the next time you sit down with a bucket full of popcorn to enjoy some Netflix, be sure to have your furry pal beside you.

Dogs encourage physical activity

When was the last time you went out by yourself to get some sun and fresh air? If the answer is “I can’t remember,” then you must get a dog! When you have a mutt to care for, you’ll automatically find yourself going outside for walks and engaging with other people and nature.

The benefits you’ll enjoy are; reduced chances of heart attacks, better mood, being less prone to obesity and a better mood overall. Some breeds like Labradors make excellent running partners as they are energetic and playful. There’s perhaps nothing that will keep you more fit than frequently running with your dog.

Even if you have a small dog (like a Schnauzer), you will still need to exercise them regularly by taking them on walks or playing fetch. Many small dog breeds have tremendous amounts of energy, but you can wear them out much easier than a larger dog.

dogs for mental health

Dogs build your immunity and make you less prone to allergies

One study concluded that children who grow up in families that have furry pets, like dogs, are less likely to develop allergies. If you have a toddler in the house, don’t stop them from interacting with their K9 buddy. That way they are less likely to develop pet allergies and allergies to grass, dust, and other allergens.

Allergies have been known to cause both physical and mental health issues including lethargy and apathy. In addition, interacting with dogs has also been known to lower the risk of asthma.

Pets are great listeners

Talking to people about your problems helps ease the burden on your mind. But you can’t talk to people without being judged, or even worse, antagonized. Pets, on the other hand, are listeners with whom you can talk about almost everything. They won’t judge you for talking your heart out as well (especially if you have some treats for them!).

Be it about your hopes and dreams, the bitter breakup, or the ugly truths you’ve been afraid to share with anyone so far; your trusty K9 companion will be there to hear them all. If you have never owned a pet before, you have no idea how empathetic they are to your worries. Even though they won’t be able to understand what you’re saying, dogs are very intuitive when it comes to tone of voice and body language.

Dogs help you meet new people

How many times have you seen someone getting all the attention at the park just because they have a cute dog? Dogs are not only great companions but have the ability to arouse curiosity by their gentle playfulness and social nature. It’s not uncommon for people who have a unique dog breed to get a lot of random questions from passerby’s.

Moreover, dog people are generally perceived to be non-intimidating and friendly in nature. So, whenever you go out on a walk with your furry friend, count on making a few human friends as well.

Final words

Dogs are a wonderful gift of nature that humans have cherished for hundreds and thousands of years. They have taken on critical duties such as standing guard, being hunting partners, acting as herding dogs to control cattle and so much more. It’s time you got yourself a mutt of your own and see how life changes for the better!

Kevin O’Donnell

Kevin O’Donnell is a dog enthusiast and dog rescue volunteer. As the webmaster at he helps spread valuable information and advice about dog training, nutrition and health. He loves playing with his best friend, Buddy (a Japanese Chin/Papillon mix).

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