While there are many ways to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle, dog ownership offers a wide range of mental health benefits that adds to your overall quality of life. For example, dogs can be a constant companion to you, a snuggle buddy, a friendly face, or an exercise playmate. These activities and more can provide the following mood-boosting benefits to humans.
Owning A Psychiatric Service Dog
Although all dogs will give you the mood-boosting effects we’ll discuss in the next section, psychiatric service dogs are specifically trained to support people with mental illnesses.
Unlike a service dog or an emotional support animal, a psychiatric service dog (PSD) is trained to work with people who have certain mental health issues. PSDs can be any breed of dog or size, as long as they can accompany their owner in public. Psychiatric service dogs have the same rights as service dogs, meaning they are allowed entry on planes and public places.
Psychiatric service dog training focuses on helping people who are diagnosed with:
- Panic Attacks
- Bipolar Disorder
- Social Phobias
If your mental health issues have prevented you from living a more independent lifestyle, a psychiatric service dog may be what you need. For more information on psychiatric service dog ownership and how to get one from a licensed network, go to CentraPet.com.
4 Mood-Boosting Benefits Of Pet-Ownership
Whether you own a dog, a cat, or a gerbil, you’ll receive the following mood-boosting, social, and mental health benefits from pet-ownership simply by having your companion near you.
1. Reduces Anxiety and Stress
The soothing sound of your dog breathing against you as they sleep is guaranteed to make you feel at ease. In fact, a study conducted by the CDC found that children who had a pet dog in their household were less likely to test positive on the screening test for stress and anxiety.
People who pet their dogs frequently have lower cortisol levels, which will help you sleep, lower your heart rate, and decrease your blood sugar and blood pressure. The rhythmic motion of petting successfully calms down children and adults with Autism, ADHD, ADD, and GAD.
2. Improves Relationships and Social Skills
Pet owners often establish a special familial bond with their dogs. This type of pet-ownership bond strongly influences our social and romantic relationships, as people who reported greater care for animals are more likely to be involved in their communities.
Adults that have a greater attachment to animals often demonstrate greater empathy and confidence, which leads to them making more long-lasting friendships and relationships. Children are more likely to introduce themselves to others if they have a pet in the home.
3. Benefits Mental Health
Mental illness affects 1 in 5 adults in the United States each year, with bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia being the most common. While dogs can’t cure mental illness, they can reduce symptoms of mental illness and offer people a greater sense of control.
Research shows that our animal companions can motivate us to get out the door to fresh air and exercise, which benefits our mental health and wellbeing. Dogs will bring you so much joy and happiness that they’ll make depression and anxiety symptoms more manageable.
4. Higher Sleep Quality
Our sleep greatly affects our moods. After a sleepless night, we’re often more irritable, short-tempered, and vulnerable to stress. Even partial sleep deprivation (4-5 hours of sleep) can lead to more bouts of anger, sadness, and mental exhaustion. Thankfully, your dog can help!
While some dog owners will complain that their furry friend takes up too much of the bed at night, but don’t kick them off just yet! Dog owners often say that their companion makes them feel more secure and relaxed at night, as they’ll be able to inform their owners of a break-in.