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Are Dogs Good for Mental Health?

There are numerous ways in which dogs demonstrate their unconditional love towards their owners. But the question remains: Does having a dog at home benefit your mental health as much as it does your emotional well-being?

For centuries, dogs and humans have formed strong relationships, and this bond offers many advantages. For instance, spending time with a cute and charming canine is delightful. Furthermore, research suggests that human-dog interactions can have positive effects beyond physical affection such as snuggles and licks.

Four Ways Dogs Help with Mental Health

Although science can provide an explanation for why dogs are beneficial for mental health, there are numerous real-life instances that demonstrate how our furry friends offer us support. Here are four way dogs help us with mental health:

Getting in a Routine

Caring for a dog can give people a sense of purpose and responsibility, which can be particularly important for those who may be struggling with mental health issues. Establishing consistent meal times, exercise routines, and other regular activities can promote feelings of stability and concentration. These additional responsibilities can also provide a sense of direction and accomplishment.

Reducing Stress & Positive Feelings

Spending time and interacting with dogs has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. Activities like petting or watching them play helps our brains produce dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, all of which are substances that enhance our mood and elicit positive emotions.

Encouraging Physical Activity

Walking and playing with dogs can provide regular exercise, which is important for both physical and mental health. Remember that physical activity is good for the mind and body! Engaging in these additional activities you may not previous enjoyed such as walks, playtime, and exercise are an added benefit of owning a dog.


Dogs are social animals and thrive on interaction with their owner. They often form strong bonds and can become an important source of emotional support. For people who may feel lonely or isolated, having a dog can provide a sense of connection and reduce feelings of social isolation.

Your pup can be a lifelong companion, offering support during both the good and bad days that come along. Whether you’re experiencing feelings of loneliness or have had a bad day at work, your furry friend will be there to offer comfort and companionship.

Mental Health Awareness

Please keep in mind that dogs are living beings that need your love, time, and affection. Dogs can be beneficial for mental health but they are not a substitute for professional mental health treatment. If you are struggling with mental health issues, it is important to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center, or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line.

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