Dogs are said to be man’s best friend, but why? Dogs are pack animals who thrive off attention and affection. Guess who else is a pack animal that thrives off attention and affection. Humans. Dogs and humans are very similar in that dogs can love us in similar ways that we love them. They can feel sadness and jealousy, they people-watch, and they can process what we are saying. Unlike most other animals, dogs are more advanced and strive to please their masters, making them exceptional companions.
There are many specific reasons why dogs can consequently improve your mental health. The first is a constant companion for you. Dogs are always excited to see you the second you walk through the door, no matter the length of time you are gone. With my dog, I may walk out to the garage for a few minutes to grab something and by the time I get back, he is wagging his tail and acts like he hasn’t seen me in hours! Dogs are constantly there for you, they can make you laugh, and they give the best cuddles. They are a reason to get up every day and can make you feel safe, always being there for you.
Dogs never judge you. No matter what state you are in, your dog loves you. You could be going through a depressive episode where you can barely get out of bed, your dog won’t care! They will see that as more cuddling time with their favorite person. Or, you may be stressed about an upcoming decision or meeting, your dog won’t know and will treat you as though everything is the same as it’s always been. Dogs can be the most pleasant distraction while also the most comforting. They accept you for who you are, no matter if that’s your best or worst self. They don’t care if you have done your chores or brushed your hair, they love you just the way you are.
A huge way a dog can improve your mental health is through exercise. We all know that many breeds of dogs need to be walked frequently. Getting out of the house to take your dog on a walk is not an only great exercise for your dog but for you as well! Dogs give you purpose and a reason to get out of the house every day to take them walking.
Lastly, dogs give you a routine. They like to be fed on a schedule and will tell you when you have deterred from that precise schedule! About an hour before my dog’s afternoon feeding time, he will start to intently stare at me while sitting as close to me as possible. Sometimes I am amazed at their sense of time, but they know when they are supposed to be fed (if you have a food-motivated pup). Feeding times walks, playtime, naptime, and so much more go into your pet’s day so no matter what, there is a sense of routine that develops when you get a dog.
There are many other reasons to get a dog, but these are some specific to improving your mental health. In my opinion, my dog has improved my mental health through exercise and companionship. Daily walks and a constant cuddle buddy are two of my favorite things about my pooch! Not to mention they can be extremely silly and goofy; dogs can brighten even our darkest days!