Even if you don’t love quarantine, your dog is probably thrilled that you’re spending so much time at home with them. And you should be, too! Dogs help you out in almost every aspect of your life.
- Heart disease – A Swedish study found that dog ownership seems to be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and lower mortality. Another study on animal interaction found that owning pets reduces cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure;
- Exercise – Having a dog gives you the motivation to exercise by going for walks or just playing with your pal. We all know that exercise is good for us, but with a dog it can be a lot more fun!
- Allergies – Children who grow up with dogs from the time they are infants have a lower risk of developing allergies, reduced asthma, and are protected from some respiratory infection, according to a study from the University of California San Francisco and the University of Michigan.
- Mindfulness – Harvard Health Publishing says that “perhaps one of the greatest psychological benefits of interacting with a dog is the opportunity it provides to be more mindful.” Since mindfulness can “help reduce stress and enhance health,” your pup helps you by reminding you to live in the moment.
- Stress – One study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that dogs reduced employees’ stress during the workday. Another study showed that therapy dogs helped reduce stress in college students. Pet owners also have less self-reported fear and anxiety.
- Depression – According to the National Institutes of Health dogs can serve as a source of comfort and support. Therapy dogs are especially good at this. They’re sometimes brought into hospitals or nursing homes to help reduce patients’ stress and anxiety.
- Loneliness – An article in Time Magazine says that dogs can also provide social support, making you feel less lonely. A study on human-animal interaction also indicated that owning a dog could provide benefits for social attention, social behavior, and interpersonal interactions with people.
- Confidence – A 2011 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, showed that in addition to having higher self-esteem, dog owners “ were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.” Research on youth development has shown that people who reported greater care for animals were also more likely to be involved in their communities and serve in leadership roles.
- Empathy – In that same study, it was found that greater attachment to an animal in teen years leads to that person being more empathetic later on. Marion Janner, a mental health campaigner and animal lover, says that dogs help teach us unconditional love, compassion, altruism, and, “valuably but sadly, how to cope when someone you love dies.”
Dog ownership and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death
Time Science Says Your Pet Is Good for Your Mental Health
Harvard Health Publishing Mindfulness and your dog
Preliminary investigation of employee’s dog presence on stress and organizational perceptions
Sit, Stay, Heal: Study finds therapy dogs help stressed university students
Friends With Benefits: On the Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership
Psychosocial and Psychophysiological Effects of Human-Animal Interactions: The Possible Role of Oxytocin
Research Shows How Household Dogs Protect Against Asthma, Infection
Is Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) Linked to Positive Youth Development? Initial Answers
The Truth About Cats and Dogs: Pets Are Good for Mental Health of ‘Everyday People’