How do dogs benefit mental health?
Well, there is plenty of research demonstrating the benefits of dogs, and other pets, on many aspects of mental health. Dogs are particularly helpful because the provide routine and regular exercise to their owners. However, the list of beneficial effects is more extensive as you will see.
Although I do not own a dog, I am privileged to be able to enjoy my friend’s dogs and I have witnessed first hand the great benefits that they bring with regards to general health (fitness, mobility, etc.) and mental health in particular. Dogs and other pets such as cats help to reduce stress and get people to relax and calm down, reducing blood pressure in the process. They also provide companionship and distraction from worries.
I recently attended a professional training course for counsellors and psychotherapists on the subject of depression. While pets were not specifically mentioned as one of the treatments, their benefits were mention in passing. The interesting thing was that at the end of the session when we shared how we looked after ourselves as therapists (after dealing sometimes with very traumatic issues), a very large number of us said, we had a cuddle or a play with our pets (in my case, it is my cat). A long walk in the park with my friend’s dogs does wonders to help me relax and let go of the tension from working with distressing issues.
To enumerate and explain all the specific ways in which dogs help with the many mental health conditions would take me quite a while to write, but fortunately, I have come across an excellent article that illustrates it beautifully.
Please click on the link below and read it. It is written in sections so you can read the bit that you think is relevant to you.
Happy reading https://www.dogowner.co.uk/dogs-mental-health