- Brendan Chung
How Does Owning Dogs Make You Happy?
It is not a mystery that dogs can elevate our moods and overall happiness. In fact, studies show that those who own pet dogs of any breed are less likely to have depression and anxiety during stressful situations because dogs are capable of helping their owners lower their blood pressure. In another study by BarkBox, 71% of dog parents have shown an elevated mood when compared to before those owners had dogs. About 85% percent of the parents in the same group of dog parents have revealed that their pet dogs have “helped them get through difficult times in their lives”. Some ask why can dogs create such psychological impacts on their owners?
Dogs are generally described as extremely energetic animals and in need of lots of attention and love. Therefore, dogs naturally follow their owners in order to seek out physical affection from them. When these dogs are constantly beside their owners, there is a sense of companionship that is created between both the dog and their owners and as a result reduces loneliness. This impact applies to a variety of activities with your dogs such as cuddling, sleeping, playing, etc with your pet. By being in company with each other dogs help elevate serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Serotonin and dopamine are both neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for regulating mood. As the pandemic grew more threatening, feelings of isolation and loneliness have increased about 80% in the U.S. during the midst of the coronavirus. As these feelings of loneliness grew, so did the interest in adopting pets such as dogs. It can be proven the dependency on dogs for emotional support has increased since March 2020 due to the anxiety inducing events that have occurred throughout the year. As the year of 2021 continues, adopting dogs to reduce loneliness should definitely be considered.
While indoor activities with our dogs help boost overall emotional well-being, the responsibility of taking these pets outdoors for walks also encourages health benefits. Because dogs require time outside, their owners also get more exposure to the sun which increases vitamin D intake. Dogs are proven to be catalysts for physically healthy behaviors in their owners because they inspire them to exercise more which releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are released when an individual exercises which creates feelings of exhilaration and happiness. With these side effects, it is proven that dogs help their owners feel both physically happier and mentally healthier. Especially in times of lockdown, the need for more companionship and physical activity has grown severe so adopting these four-legged friends could help alleviate any of the psychological and physical hindrances that the pandemic has brought us.
The dependence on our pet dogs for companionship and reducing loneliness has grown stronger over the course of this global pandemic. Especially in situations of social isolation and extreme anxiety, getting a pet dog can alleviate these negative emotions and make an individual significantly happier in life. Because dogs help their owners release chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, these pets play a big role in elevating people's moods.