It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15 to 21 May 2023) and spending time with our pets can help reduce feelings of anxiety. But that’s not all. Research even suggests that people with dogs live longer lives than those without.
Whether you adopt or buy, your dog will no doubt improve your life and your mental health. Training, bonding, and even spoiling them from time to time, can bring you an array of psychological benefits.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the reasons why having a dog can improve the quality and length of your life.
Having a dog increases our activity levels.
Evidence suggests that dog owners are considerably more active than people without a dog. In the UK, people who have dogs get up to 2000 more steps and 13 more minutes of physical activity per day, which can lead to improved cardiovascular health.
A survey by Public Health England (PHE) found that close to 3 million adults in the UK fall below the recommended daily amount of physical activity, with a third of us (31%) saying they struggled to find the time to fit exercise into our lives.
But our dogs will ask to go out for a walk, rain or shine. Even a brisk 10 minute walk each day can help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even some cancers.
If you’re looking to build your fitness this summer, take a read of our top tips for introducing dogs into your fitness routine.
Once you’re out the door, the benefits don’t stop there. Fresh air, sunshine and social interaction with other dog walkers are all powerful natural remedies when you’re feeling low.
Having a dog motivates us to spend time in green spaces, and whether it’s a walk at the beach or a wander through the woods, being in nature brings significant benefits.
Dogs are masters of mindfulness. They teach us how to live in the moment and truly be present. Next time you’re out on a walk together, notice how your dog stops to literally smell the roses and enjoy every moment, and remember to do that in your own life too.
Academic and psychologist June McNicholas explains that pets can be a lifeline for socially isolated people.
“Pet care and self-care are linked. When you take a dog out for a walk, people talk to you and that may be the only social contact an isolated person has the whole day. If you have a cat, you can have a conversation standing in the cat food aisle in the supermarket, deciding which brand to buy. When pet owners leave the house to buy pet food, they’re more likely to buy food for themselves and when they feed their pet, they’ll sit down to eat too. People with disabilities often find that able-bodied people are socially awkward with them; if they have a dog it breaks down barriers and allows a more comfortable and natural interaction.”
Spending time with our pets can naturally boost production of happy hormones, such as oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, in our brains. This helps lower our stress levels and can lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Dogs are the nation’s most popular choice of emotional support animals, and for good reason. They can bring a sense of calm and when you’re having a bad day, they give unconditional love. Studies suggest that people who have pets even have a reduced risk of depression, and show fewer symptoms than those without a pet in the home.
The mental and physical health benefits of dog ownership is clear to see. Having a dog helps you better manage your emotions, improves your social life, and can give you purpose.
With all this in mind, it’s clear to see why dog owners live healthier and longer lives. And for all these reasons and more, they deserve a comfy place to rest at the end of a long day being unofficial emotional support animals.
All our luxury pillow and nest beds are designed to give your dog the best night's sleep. Made with the highest quality fabric and packed with recycled fibre that holds its structure, providing your dog the support their joints need as they age.
Best of all, spoiling our dogs and watching their excitement as they roll around in their new dog bed can have a profound effect on our mental health. Their enjoyment is linked to our own happiness, so why not spoil them with a luxury dog bed that perfectly matches your home’s spring interior?