In uncertain and dark times like these, it is important to bring lots of happiness and joy into our lives. Feeling stressed, depressed, or simply feeling the weight of the winter weather and darkness can affect everyone. This is where our happy pooches come into the picture. Dogs make our lives better as they bring life and happiness into our homes. Most pet parents will already know how much a dog can influence their mental wellbeing – and now, there is also scientific proof for that!
In this article, we will talk about how sharing your life with a furry family member will make a great difference for your physical and mental wellbeing. Science has proven that humans who snuggle with their dogs are happier, less likely to get depressed or anxious, are physically fitter, and report fewer health problems.
Dogs make us happier: The cuddle hormone Oxytocin
Dogs make us happier – this is due to the release of Oxytocin, also known as “The Cuddle Hormone”, which has proven to be a positive side effect of cuddling with your dog and is released when you two snuggle up together. Oxytocin releases the same kind of hormone that is also released during breastfeeding. The hormone the releases feelings of trust, empathy, and bonding.
Oxytocin is not only released in the human body during cuddle time – it is also released in your dog’s body. Therefore, giving love and affection to your pooch, makes you both feel more secure, calm, happy, and relaxed.
Dogs improve our mental health: Reduction of stress and anxiety
It has been scientifically proven that walking with your dog has a positive impact on social interactions, social support, happiness, anxiety, stress, and much more. Mental health problems are among the world’s greatest problems, right after physical diseases. It is a problem that has increased in the last century and is something that has shown to be difficult to treat.
However, the good news is that studies show that pets have a positive influence, and help humans to reduce stress and anxiety levels. They are also able to support us during sad and/or depressed times and thereby improve our overall mental wellbeing.
Dogs get us in shape: Pet parents are more likely to be active
Dogs get us in shape. Every pet parent knows that having a dog means lots of walks – no matter if it’s raining, snowing, windy or dark – if Fido needs to go, Fido needs to go!
In a study conducted by RESIDE, it was found that dog owners had more incentives to be physically active and had an increased desire to walk and do other leisure-time activities, which had a positive influence on the pet parents’ overall physical wellbeing.
Another study backs-up these studies and concluded that: “Owners reported better health-related outcomes. They exercised more frequently, slept better, had higher self-reported fitness and health, took fewer days off sick from work and were seen less by doctors.”
To sum it up:
Dogs really DO make our lives better, therefore, we will wrap up this post by encouraging all of you to seek some puppy love! If you aren’t so lucky to have a dog yourself, you could offer your local shelter to volunteer as a dog-walker. Or ask around in your neighbourhood if someone needs a dog sitter/walker. You might not get the full benefit of dog-ownership, but a good, long walk or an extensive dog snuggle will definitely put a big smile on your face for the rest of your day.
So, take good care of yourself and your pooch, and make sure to thank your dog for all the awesome things he brings into your life by also fulfilling his needs – you can find some easy suggestions here.