Anyone who has owned a pet knows just how affectionate and fun loving they are. Apart from this, they’re also major stress busters and increase happiness quotient for their owners. Dogs, in particular, decrease chances of depression, anxiety, loneliness, neurodegenerative disorders like dementia, and encourage an active lifestyle. Just how are dogs such a boon?
Dogs have evolved, more than any other animal, to become emotionally attuned to our feelings and behaviors. They are able to be perceptive to our subtle body gestures, interpret finer nuances in our tone of voice, and just like a friend, look deep into our eyes to gauge our emotional state.
Apart from the obvious joys that come with owning a dog,
Here are some other research-based benefits of having a furry friend:
- A major therapeutic effect of having a dog is that they fulfill the basic need of physical touch and affection. Research shows that hugging or stroking a loving animal can have a soothing and calming effect and reduce levels of anxiety.
- Playing with a dog stimulates the release of happy hormones: Dopamine and Serotonin in the body, which make a person happier, calmer and more relaxed.
- Having a dog can help prevent and alleviate depression. Dog owners are less likely to be depressed than those who don’t own dogs. Having a dog seems to keep stress at bay for their owners, which in turn, increases their immunity against depression.
- Dogs are a great source of companionship and help in decreasing loneliness.
- Most dogs are great stimuli for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They encourage their owners to get out of their houses and sedentary lifestyles and incorporate walks and runs in their routine.
Dogs have been used to therapeutically treat symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, and Autism). They also help to add structure and routine to the day.
More importantly, dogs teach their human owners about the simple joys of life: of caring and loving unconditionally- the life values we have all been taught growing up, but have gotten lost somewhere in the adult world!