We all know that dogs are fun, but did you know that they are also a great remedy for depression and anxiety?
Imagine…coming home from a long, challenging day at the office–you’re feeling overwhelmed with the demands of your boss and you’re worried about holding on to your position in an era when pink slips are commonplace. You pull into the driveway and hear the yelps of joy even before you get to the front door. Your furry bundle of comfort, love, and entertainment is waiting to greet you!!
Think back to a time in your life when you were sad due to a loss, such as your child going off to college, death of a close friend, or going through a divorce–and how comforting it would have been to have a loving friend there with you. Dogs are the perfect friends in these times; their main desire is simply to be with us whether we want to have quiet time to nap or read a book, go out for a run, or take a drive to the store to pick up groceries. Some dog owners even claim that their pups lick the tears from their face.
So what is it about dogs that make them great at treating depression and anxiety??
Dogs give unconditional love.
Have you ever heard a dog tell his owner that he needs some alone time? All I have to do is sit down, and one or both of my dogs is in my lap or bringing a toy for me to throw. Bella and Scuppers give me constant messages that they love being with me. Plus, they always greet me at the door with a smile.
Dogs are dependent on their people, and this can be a good thing.
Many people who suffer from depression have a sense of worthlessness. Most of the needs of dogs are simple, involving basics like keeping water in their dish, providing a meal once or twice a day, and being taken out for potty breaks, and they show appreciation for these small tasks with wagging tails, barks, and other signs of enthusiasm.
Dogs are entertaining.
I often say that we don’t need television at our house, because our terriers are “More fun than a barrel full of monkeys.” And it’s true! We can never predict what antics the pups will pull next. They provide laughter every single day.
Dogs are comforting and a source of stress-reduction.
Studies have demonstrated that simply petting your dog can result in a reduction in blood pressure. And, dog owners who are exposed to stress have lower spikes in their blood pressure than do non-dog owners.
So, if you have a dog already, jump in and reap the rewards. If you’re considering getting a pet, realize that this may be a positive for you in many ways–but your therapist might not be seeing as much of you!
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