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Dogs And Puppies Reduce Stress, Anxiety And Depression

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A benefit to owning a dog; they help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Dogs are known to reduce anxiety, pain, and depression. They have been beneficial in helping deal with Post Traumatic Stress. Miami University offers pet therapy to students to help them with homesickness and depression, especially during finals.

Can my dog help my mental health?

There have been numerous studies on how interacting with dogs can help a person’s stress, anxiety depression, and other mental health issues. The National Center for PTSD states that owning a dog can lift your mood and help you feel less stressed. They help bring feelings of love, are fun, contribute to reducing stress and are a great reason to get out of the house and meet new people.

Another article talks about a study of 48 hypertensive patients with high-stress occupations had agreed to get a dog or puppy (or cat). Their physiological responses to mental stress were measured before and after getting the pet. Those who did get a pet had a much lower systolic blood pressure which measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts) and diastolic blood pressure which measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood), heart rate, and plasma renin (plays a major role in the body’s regulation of blood pressure, thirst, and urine output) activity when exposed to mental stress than the participants who did not.

5 Reasons Why You Need Your Dog More Than They Need You

There aren’t many things that compare to the relationship humans have with their dogs. Dogs play a nurturing and protective role within the family. In return, we consider and treat them as the closest friend we could have—because they are. While owners are responsible for the well-being of their pets, they also are just as dependent upon the benefits that their pets give them. It’s likely that humans may need their dogs more than their dogs need them. Here are five examples why.

Lowers Symptoms of Anxiety & Depression
Did you know that one of the best things for someone who suffers from the effects of depression and anxiety can do to overcome their symptoms is to play with a dog? In the last few decades research has shown that pets, with an emphasis on dogs, provide humans with fundamental emotional needs such as the need to touch and be touched as well as the need for companionship. Research has shown that playing with your dog can increase calming levels of serotonin and dopamine in your body, help to lower cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure.

Emotional Support
Yes, it’s true that dogs can help you feel calm and happy often easing the effects of anxiety and depression. But the emotional support they provide goes much farther as dogs are uniquely equipped to understand and respond to human emotions such as love and anger. The difference is that while you may have radical mood-swings, your dog will always show you, unconditional love.

May Help You Sleep Better
Did you know that sleeping with your dog may actually improve the amount of time you sleep while in bed? To be fair, this considers that your dog is not restless at night. But, the study by the Mayo clinic debunks previous studies by showing that the comfort, warmth, and security from sleeping with your pet may cause similar response in adults as a child snuggling with their mother.

Increased Security
Dogs are brave. Seriously, a dog of any size will show no hesitation in confronting much larger and more vicious animals. They are also an awesome warning and security system with the ability to detect and notify intruders before many high-cost alarm systems. This is due to their ingrained emotional and mental genetics which has adopted dogs to be extremely loyal and inherently protective of their pack—which, by the way, you are a part of.

More Exercise
The one thing dogs have that humans can often put aside is their amazing circadian clocks and their OCD. Dogs have the ability to seemingly know exactly when it is time to wake up in the morning. Don’t believe us? Ask a dog owner. They also need to be on schedule. Dogs will let you know when it is time to eat, time to go potty, and when it is time to exercise. Dogs need to get out to play and run around, and with the exception of cuddly Bulldogs, most dogs will keep you running until your legs fall off.

Dogs provide much more than the few benefits we listed here. In fact, they are so effective in their emotional and protective abilities that dogs are frequently tasked with careers in healthcare and security.

What is Pet Therapy?

Pet therapy can be used in many different ways. Goals of a pet therapy program can be to:

  • improve fine motor skills
  • improve assisted or independent movement
  • increase self-esteem
  • decrease anxiety or loneliness
  • increase verbal communication
  • develop social skills
  • increase willingness to join in activities
  • improve interactions with others
  • motivate willingness to exercise

 Pet therapy can offer support to many people including:

  • patients undergoing chemotherapy
  • residents in long-term care facilities
  • patients hospitalized with chronic heart failure
  • veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • children having physical or dental procedures
  • stroke victims and physical therapy patients regaining motor skills