Happy National Pet Month!
As a devoted dog owner, I am grateful for my furry friend's positive impact on my life. Dogs can increase our self-esteem, reduce our stress and anxiety levels, and make it easier for us to live our lives.
1. They love unconditionally
Fear not – your dog isn’t here to judge you. They will patiently wait for you to get home and greet you as if you are the most popular celebrity on the planet. They provide a space of unconditional love where you are free to be yourself. They are immediate joy providers after a rough day - nothing beats coming home to a wagging tail and a dog that’s so happy to see you.
2. They understand us
Dogs can interpret our tone of voice, body language and gestures. They are the only other mammal that makes eye contact with us to express affection and convey understanding. Mutual staring between us and our dogs releases oxytocin (aka. the love hormone – a chemical that plays an important role in bonding and boosts feelings of love and trust).
3. They encourage us to be our healthiest selves - physically and mentally
Dogs get us outside walking, get our endorphins flowing and help reduce our stresses and anxieties through movement. They encourage us to exercise and be playful. They’re also of social benefit – meeting new people out and about when with a trusted canine companion is common. They’re a great stimulus for healthy exercise and can substantially boost our mood - their valuable companionship can ease depression. People with dogs even have lower blood pressure in stressful situations!
4. They elevate our feel-good neurotransmitters
Playing with a dog can elevate our levels of serotonin and dopamine – feel-good hormones that calm and relax us. Animal touch and movement are two ways to combat stress!
5. One less lonely person
Dogs help to fulfill our basic human need for touch. Stroking, hugging or touching a dog can calm and soothe us when stressed or anxious (I personally know this to be very true!) Dogs add pure joy and unconditional love to life. Caring for a dog can help you feel needed and can also combat loneliness.
6. They give us structure and a sense of purpose
Having a structure and routine for our days can be an important part of mental wellness. Simply put, dogs can help us get out of bed in the mornings, get outside and provide us with a sense of purpose!
7. They live in the moment
Dogs truly live in the moment. They don’t fret about what happened yesterday or worry about what might happen tomorrow. They help us to become more mindful and to appreciate joy in the present moment. They are the original masters of mindfulness.
To conclude, dogs simply rule.