Stress, anxiety, fear, panic, and any negative emotions that haunt us on a more daily basis then we can admit. These are like 100-meter walls erected between us and our happiness. We need help, we need attention and we need lots of support to go through these storms brewing inside us, and often many of us are not lucky to have that someone. And to fill that void friend that is not human, specifically dogs come into the equation.
On a scientific basis, we have already proved that dogs do help relieve our stress. They are conduits to bridge the gap between our mental health and rationality. Companions that don’t leave you for the greatest riches, well except maybe for a juicy bone.
A survey conducted by the National Accident Helpline found that 87% of pet owners agreed that their pet calmed them in stressful situations. This was particularly true for the younger respondents aged between 18 and 24 with 96% agreeing, while 91% of the older generation (65+) believed the pet helped with stress.
Other Health Benefits
This reflects a study from Washington State University that found that even just 10 minutes with a dog resulted in a significant reduction in cortisol, which is a major stress hormone. Additionally, it is said that owning a pet can improve mood, provide social support, encourage you to get moving, help control blood pressure, and stave off loneliness. This can all have a hugely positive impact on an individual’s life so it is easy to see why dogs are so popular.
You also now see many service dogs for people with anxiety and other mental health conditions which interfere with their daily lives. Dogs can be well-trained to respond to and comfort people in difficult situations. The added calming effect that they can have can make a big difference in the lives of those that suffer from various mental health
The National Accident Helpline survey also looked at different breeds and which people found to be the most comforting. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Labrador Retrievers were found to be the most comforting dog across all ages, followed by Cockapoos, Springer Spaniels, Boxers, and Cocker Spaniels.
Distractions at Home
While dogs and other pets certainly can reduce stress and bring many benefits to people’s lives, it is fair to say that they can also be a distraction around the home which can be problematic when so many people are now working from home. The survey revealed that only 13% of respondents could concentrate on tasks around the home without being distracted by their pets. While they may be distracting, the benefits of ownership far outweigh this small problem and if people can reduce stress while working from home with their pet then this is surely a plus even if they can be distracting.
Dogs truly are man’s best friend and can greatly help to reduce stress so it is easy to see why so many people enjoy owning a pet, especially if they often find themselves stressed, they are recovering from a traumatic experience or suffer from a mental health condition.