How Dogs can Help with Depression

Dogs offer unconditional love and acceptance.

As far as we know, dogs are without opinions. Even if you are stinky they will snuggle up next to you. A recent study that found that nursing-home residents felt less lonely when they spent quiet time with a dog alone than when they visited with a dog and other residents.

We love our dogs because we can tell them our innermost thoughts and not be judged.

Dogs alter our behaviour.

How many of us come home annoyed or stressed? You come through your front door and your dog runs to meet you frantically wagging its tail and wanting to ‘kiss’ you……and you smile! We calm down when we are with our dogs. We slow our breath and our minds.

Dogs distract.

Dogs are like a good film or book. They take us out of our heads and into theirs that only involves food, water and affection. It’s hard to think about how awful you feel when your dog is licking your face.

Dogs promote touch.

Hugging floods our bodies with oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure and heart rates. It’s not surprising, then, that stroking a dog can lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Dogs make us responsible.

With dogs come great responsibility, and responsibility can promote mental health.. When we succeed, we reinforce to ourselves that we are capable of caring for another creature as well as ourselves. Taking care of a dog also brings a routine to our day.

Dogs lower our blood pressure.

Research shows that dog owners have significantly lower blood pressure and heart rates. Blood pressure also drops when people pet dogs and can also bring improvement in a person’s immune system and ease pain.

It seems as though a dog’s mere presence is beneficial.