Looking for a way to naturally treat your stress? It’s as easy as heading to your local shelter and finding a new furry addition to your family. Therapists and doctors recommend pets, especially dogs, to help improve mental health and well being. Dogs help improve mental and physical health, but just being themselves, no fancy training (other than basic obedience) needed, which is why emotional support animals are so popular. Learn more about why dogs are the best natural remedy for anxiety.
Dogs Encourage Exercise
While recommending exercise for anxiety may get an eye-roll, but it’s true. Exercise is an important part of a wellness plan for mental and physical health. Even daily walks have tremendous effects on the state of mind and help reduce stress and anxiety. Dog owners walk on average more than non-dog owners. Fido ideally needs to be walked twice a day (thirty minutes each walk would be ideal) with lots of playtime like fetch and tug of war.
Natural Stress Relievers
When we feel stressed, our bodies release cortisol, which is responsible for the fight or flight hormone. High levels of cortisol over extended periods wreak havoc on the body, causing issues like heart disease and high blood pressure. Playing, cuddling, or petting a dog reduces cortisol levels naturally, our stress floats away as we focus on a pup. As we cuddle and pet, the body releases oxytocin, the love hormone, which is a natural antidepressant.
Many people who have anxiety feel lonely. Dogs are a perfect companion, helping their owners to feel less alone. Anxiety can be isolating, especially phobias or social anxiety; just leaving the house could be difficult. A dog is right by your side on the good days and the bad days, loyal and supportive no matter what.
Many people feel anxious when traveling, even those without anxiety disorders. Airports are crowded and can be chaotic, triggering those with anxiety. Emotional support animals can travel with their owners on flights, sitting in their lap or in the space in front of their seat. There is no pet fee charged. Having an emotional support animal by your side can make all of the difference when flying, a natural way to reduce stress and anxiety caused by traveling.
Dogs are a natural way to remedy anxiety, whether you feel occasionally stressed or have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. Therapists and other licensed mental health professionals recommend dogs to those with a variety of anxiety disorders ranging from generalized anxiety to social anxiety. Dogs help to encourage exercise and are the perfect companions, especially during travel. If you’re interested in getting a dog to help with your anxiety naturally, start by going to your local shelter. There are many dogs in need of a great home, ranging in all different breeds, ages, and sizes. Shelter dogs make the best pets and are a great first stop. If you are interested in a specific breed, you can check out a breed rescue group for purebreds or specialty mixes.