Dogs Aid in Helping People Manage Anxiety
As dog owners are acutely aware one of the many amazing benefits of owning a dog (or other pets for that matter) is the affect they have on their owners mood and anxiety. Many psychologists have studied the impact of animals on people’s emotional well-being. One expert noted, “Living with animals may help alleviate anxiety and depression whilst exerting a positive effect on an individual’s emotional well-being.” Furthermore, “The physical contact that one receives with another living creature can help divert attention from personal problems, and may help release loving feelings that can leave you feeling calm and soothed.”
Given the stress levels that most workers experience on a daily basis, having a dog by your side can be an invaluable way to ease the tension and anxiety and help focus on the tasks at hand. My wife and I have had 6 basset hounds over our 20-year marriage and they have been a life-saver for us in more ways than we can count. When we get stressed at work we cherish the time we get with the bassets to relax, re-set, and re-focus.
Pets Can Provide Psychological Relief
There have been a plethora of studies done on the positive impact of pets, but suffice to say their value is immeasurable. According to WebMD pets can help folks dealing with depression and health by providing the following:
- Uncomplicated Love – “With a pet, you can just feel…”
- Responsibility – “Taking care of a pet can help give you a sense of your own value and importance”
- Activity – “If you have a dog, that dog needs to be walked…A little extra physical activity is good for your physical and mental health”
- Routine – “Having a daily schedule helps fight depression”
- Companionship – “If you have a pet, you’re never alone”
- Social Interaction – “Having a pet can gently push you to get moire social contact…Pets are natural icebreakers, and other pet owners love to talk about their animals”
- Touch – “Studies have shown that petting a dog can lower your heart rate”
- Better Health – “Research has found that owning a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, and boost levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain”
If you are looking for dog breeds that will help provide anxiety relief, you will want to focus on dogs with the following characteristics: placidity, gentleness, and docility. The best dogs for anxiety will have a laid-back, happy to lucky nature; to both lift spirits and get the owner out of the house into fresh air. The following breeds have been identified as particularly good: Golden Retriever, Newfoundland, Great Dane, Yorkshire Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, and Corgi. I’d throw basset hounds into the mix as well, but their tendency toward ‘stubbornness’ is one reason why they don’t show up on a list of “Best dogs for Anxiety”! After you’ve had 6 basset hounds you naturally embrace and appreciate the ‘stubborn’ quality.
Regardless of what type of dog or pet you have we shouldn’t underestimate their power to positively affect our mood and mental/psychological health. Many workplaces have also embraced the power of pets/dogs and that is truly a pawsitive development.