I’ve always been a dog lover, and growing up it was always in my plans to eventually own one of my own.
It wasn’t until I went to college that I realized the actual benefits of pet ownership. Once I got my dog, my world changed for the better. I never battled with anxiety until the last couple years of my college career when the reality of life was trusted onto me: paying bills, working, going to class full-time and of course balancing a social life. My senior year I decided to make the leap and get a dog, and getting Hooty was the best thing I have done.
Here are the three ways that getting a dog helped me with my anxiety:
- Exercise: My dog is extremely high energy. If I don’t exercise her, you can bet that I’m going to lose a shoe or two during the day. There is no better motivation to get out of bed and run every morning. Even walking with your dog can be beneficial to your health. When you exercise you are releasing endorphins, which help with your day-to-day anxiety levels. Seeing those puppy eyes holding a leash will you get you off the couch and into a healthy routine in no time.
- Companionship: There is no better listener in the world than a dog. It may not respond to every complaint or rant, but there is no doubt they are there to hear every word with all you will get in return is a lick on the face. Even petting your furry friend has proven to lower stress levels. That is why having a dog around you at any time can be extremely beneficial.
- Cleanliness: OK, I know what you’re thinking; dogs are dirty creatures that will make your life a mess. For me, it was the exact opposite. Before Hooty, I was living in a room with piled laundry, shoes everywhere and the occasional pile of plates and cups. Now I’m encouraged to clean my room. I never realized how much a clean space can reduce anxiety, but trust me on this; having a clean space makes a huge difference in your daily routine.
Bonus: How can you even be mad, anxious or sad when the first thing greeting you when you get home is your dog shaking its butt and acting like it thought it would never see you again? I don’t know about you, but I never have a bad day when I remember that my dog is just laying on my bed and waiting for me to get home.