There really is nothing that can compare with the love and devotion a dog can have for its owner. In the same manner, responsible dog owners have the same love and care for their fur-babies as if it were their own child. The joy of owning a dog is something unique and special and the unconditional love and the companionship that you get is beyond compare.
But did you know that owning and caring for your dog is also beneficial to your physical and mental health? If you are already have a fur-baby or two, I’m sure you would definitely agree with this! For those who have yet to make a decision about getting a dog, read on to know just how having a dog is great for your health and wellbeing.
Routine and Care
Being a responsible pet owner, you are keenly aware of the needs of your dog. The need for food and nourishment, the need for a comfortable home and the need for daily exercise and play are things that you have to provide on a daily basis. This routine of having to meet these needs of your dog can also serve as a reminder to yourself of your own needs, as well. Studies show that because of the necessary routine that is demanded of you as a pet owner, you become more aware too of your own needs and can respond to both better and live a healthier and better life.
Aside from the physical aspect, the feeling of being needed and depended upon by your dog is also beneficial to your well-being and mental health.
Unconditional Love and Companionship
Having a dog can help alleviate loneliness and help you with your mental health and wellbeing. As social beings, there is that need to connect and have relationships. The need for touch the need for interaction—these are important needs that having to care for a dog address. One very big factor is the unconditional love a dog has for you, it’s owner. This, in itself, has a very positive effect on your emotional and mental well-being, especially for those dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation. Having a dog provides companionship, acceptance and unconditional love. There is also a sense of calm and security that comes with having a dog.
It has been noted, too, that having a dog as a pet releases oxytocin in the body—the hormone responsible for good feelings and positive emotions. There is also a decrease in the stress hormones found in the body which also supports emotional and mental well-being.
The needs of your dog also encourage socialization. Having to go out to bring your dog for daily walks or routine visits to the vet allows for you to interact with people around you and your community which is always good. It fosters and supports the creation of new relationships and interactions with pet owners, vets and your community in general. Feelings of isolation can be a very big problem and having a dog can address that.
Studies have also shown that these interactions and the companionship also lead to lesser stress hormones and is beneficial to health.
Having to care for your dog is not only great for mental wellbeing but also your physical health. The needs of your dog provide more opportunities to get up and be more active. Having to walk your dog, or get up to feed, bathe and play are times when you have to really get up and move. For some that are suffering from mental health issues or depression, these moments are important and truly beneficial as they help get in some physical activity throughout the day.
The need to go out and do activities with your dog can also encourage the community activities. Fur-baby play dates are a great way to not only get movement and activity for you and your dog, but also they are opportunities to meet other people, interact and be a part of a social group or community.
Having a dog may be a big responsibility to commit to, this is true, and it takes a lot of time, effort and resources to be able to be a parent to your fur-baby. The rewards and benefits to your physical, mental and emotional well-being are beyond compare.
As we celebrate National Dog Day, it is great to know and celebrate this wonderful and unique relationship.