How Canines Can Have a Positive Impact on Cognitive Well-being

They say a dog is a man’s best friend and one of the most therapeutic things we can do for ourselves is to obtain one. Dogs have a profound effect on us humans and for good reason; they are loyal, encourage an active lifestyle, help reduce stress and are just plain fun to be around.

For those with mental disorders, canines can have an especially uplifting effect in managing everyday tasks, promoting happiness and helping us to gain fuller lives. Here are some benefits to having a dog and positive ways they can add vitality to your mental state.


Encourages Good Health

According to a study, conducted by BMC Public Health, dog walkers exercise an average of 22 minutes more than their non-dog owning counterparts. Because our dogs have to keep up with us and vice-versa, dog owners are also more moderate walkers and joggers.

Exercise benefits your pet too by reducing behavioral problems as well as keeping them fit. Having a pet is an incentive for getting outside every day and enjoying the open air, which boosts mood and lowers stress.


Promotes Companionship

Humans are naturally social and while many of us enjoy moments of solitude, we also benefit from strong friendships, which have been proven to help us live longer. Not only does having a companion serve our day-to-day health, but the quality is equally as important. However, that companion doesn’t have to be human to be worthwhile.

Isolation and loneliness can deepen in those suffering from depression. However, dogs can inspire you to feel needed, especially if you live alone. Pets may also assist in forming new friendships, enacting as icebreakers when you’re out and about. Furthermore, if you’re ever in a bind, strangers are more likely to help you if you have a dog around. According to a Harvard Health study, people with dogs are 60% more likely to meet new people.


Fosters Self-Esteem

Whether you’re stressed or seek the company of another, a dog can help you live in the moment. Canines have no fear of the past or regrets about the future, a concept you can integrate into your own life. If you are suffering from chronic anxiety, this mindful concept will prove very beneficial in quelling any uneasiness you have.

Additionally, dogs are facilitators of joy and add a sense of meaningfulness. Whether you live alone, your kids have moved out of the house, or you’re newly retired, a dog can give you a refreshed purpose. Focusing on something other than yourself can inspire change and structure to your life, if you’re in a rut, all while boosting confidence.


Assists Those with Disabilities

Service dogs are especially important for those who lack mobility and basic motor functions, physiological strength, and mental capabilities. For those with speech disorders and dementia, therapy dogs improve focus and coordination. Additionally, dogs are known to be good communicators, so someone who has a difficult time relaying messages to humans can find ease when speaking to a dog due to their inability to impart judgment.

Certain types of therapy dogs also help with daily tasks and chores such as answering a door, quickly notifying an owner who cannot hear a smoke detector and retrieving medication. Additionally, a service dog may also accompany its owner to a nursing home or hospital as an assistant.

The physical and mental advantages of having a dog go far beyond playing fetch. Dogs are highly intelligent creatures with skills that can boost declining mental health. Though caring for a dog is lots of work, there are simple steps you can take, like hiring a dog walker, to give yourself a break from the demands. That way, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of having a furry friend around.