A dog has been a man’s best friend for a long time. Not only are their strong sense of loyalty and heartwarming tendency to love unconditionally amazing traits unmatched by humans, they have a direct and indirect positive impact on their owner’s health. That’s why they are considered to be perfect ESA for those with mental or physical problems.
Here are just a few of the ways owning a dog can improve your health.
A Reason to Exercise
Like humans, it is recommended that dogs have at least 30-60 minutes of exercise each day. This number will vary based on the breed and age of the dog in question. For example, a highly active breed, like a Dalmatian, will require a more intense exercise regimens. More relaxed dogs, like an English Bulldog, will require less exercise and may even need to be encouraged to exercise regularly.
To get your dog moving, you might also need to get up and go. Even activities that don’t require much movement from you– like standing in one spot and throwing a stick at the park– require you to get outside for fresh air. Make your dog your best exercise buddy, and get moving together to meet your fitness goals.
Mental Health Benefits
Dog ownership has many mental health benefits in addition to the physical impacts we just discussed. In fact, if you have a mental health disorder, owning a pet as an emotional support animal can be considered a form of therapeutic treatment.
There have been numerous studies indicating a connection between improved mental health and animal interaction. Some of the noted implications include reduced anxiety levels, improved socialization, reduced stress, and reduced symptoms of depression. Overall, animal-assisted interventions have become an oft-discussed, highly regarded treatment in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy.
Before you take the leap to dog ownership as a form of treatment for your mental health disorder, be sure to review the emotional support animal registration guidelines to see if you qualify. While most mental health disorders are suited for this form of treatment, you require input from a mental health expert and must outline how an emotional support animal will help you in your application.
Socialization is a topic that is often tied in with mental health conversations. For example, social anxiety disorder and autism spectrum disorder can add an extra layer of complexity when it comes to interacting with others. However, a lack of socialization can be a standalone issue as well. People who are shy or work in isolated work environments may experience this often.
Having a dog means having a companion to talk to, without fear of judgment or recourse. In many cases, we need to talk things out to work through our problems but feel as though there is no one to talk to. A dog will listen without response, other than the usual level of devotion they convey.
This form of socialization can help offset the feelings of isolation and depression in those who work from home or have limited interaction with the outside world. While the internet opens endless options for chatting with people, humans require a genuine connection for optimum health and happiness. A dog can help fill this gap.
A Sense of Responsibility
Many people go through a significant portion of their life without being responsible for the health and wellbeing of another living thing. Having a dog can change that. When you own a dog, they are entirely dependent on you. Their health, happiness, and well-being depend on your attention, devotion, and caregiving.
Dog ownership can be an excellent eye-opening experience for children, who often desire a puppy without comprehending the responsibility associated with pet ownership. Having your children assist in caring for a dog– being responsible for feeding, playing with the dog outside every day, etc.– will be a strong developmental experience that will last a lifetime.
Having this added sense of responsibility can also help boost your confidence, as a result of the daily feeling of success you will experience by providing for another living thing. Confidence levels are closely related to self-esteem and mental wellness.
If these reasons aren’t enough to convince you that dog ownership is worth the time and money invested in the cause, remember the most important thing of all: Dogs are awesome!