Why Dogs Are The Best Friends Of People With Mental Conditions

Dogs are the right pet for people with mental conditions

“When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend because he will be our friend for always and always and always.‘ ” ― Rudyard Kipling

Believe it or not having a fluffy, barking friend might relieve anxiety, reduce stress and beat depression. According to different scientific research having a dog makes your life better and increases the feeling of happiness and satisfaction. A research conducted out of the University of British Columbia proved that dogs are useful for relieving the stress of college students who were under pressure. After having some time together with therapy dogs, the students were much more relaxed, more energetic, and felt more satisfied with themselves.

Dogs are a source of happiness and positivism not only for people who suffer from anxiety. But, it’s while dealing with it and similar conditions when they are most helpful.

Here’s what the experts have to say.

Pets are better friends than people

“Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ― George Elliot

According to Alison Stone, LCSW, pets are extremely good for mental health because of these two reasons. First, they provide us with a purpose of caring for another live creature. And, secondly, they are a better companion than any person could be. “We humans could feel frustration, blame, discrimination, and deception,” she explains. “For the most part, pets just need love and to be loved. Researches have revealed that a 10-minutes contact with dogs is enough to boost our oxytocin levels.”

It’s exactly the oxytocin or the “bonding” hormone, that makes us feel close to our pet. This is a real advantage according to Alison Stone especially for people who live on their own and could be lonely. She explains that our bodies produce this hormone only when having direct contact with others. That’s why people who live isolatedly or feel depressed could find themselves less alone and less stressed. Equine therapy (therapy with horses) has been confirmed to increase spontaneity, pressure tolerance, compassion and many other nervous/ behavioural challenges.

Pieces of Advice when getting a pet.

Pets might assist most people in overcoming some of their mental problems, but they aren’t a panacea, after all. Another factor to think about before getting a pet according to therapist Nathalie C. Theodore is if you could afford one. It turns out that when pets cost too much and are financially challenging they might not be capable of boosting the happiness of their owners. “Taking care for a pet could cost a lot. If owning a pet creates financial concerns, the negative sides of having one may outweigh the positive,” Theodore explains. She adds that getting a pet can add other types of stress because this is inevitable when learning and getting accustomed to new things. “If someone is fighting with difficult anxiety or depression, having a pet to take care of might cause more stress,” explains Theodore. “In cases of light or average psychiatric health problems, I believe a pet could definitely be helpful.”

Dogs make us happy in a different way

Although most pets might increase joy, dogs give a different kind of happiness and could lift your mood in a different way. And not due to the fact they’re extremely loyal to their owners. They also need exercising outdoors, which could reduce stress and help keep your mind fresh and active “Walking or running with your dog could play the role of stress reliever or provide some exercise in an otherwise inactive way of life,” adds Alison Stone. “That could be a reason why they are helpful for improving the emotional stability of their owners.”

Do you have a pet? Share your thoughts!

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