If you’ve spent more than a few minutes on the Internet, you will have seen just how cute, hilarious, and quirky little puppies can be.
And while there’s no denying that raising puppies is hard work (btw, we have a great app for that), research also suggests that pet ownership can be quite beneficial for our mental health and wellbeing. Beyond Blue - a leading non-profit mental health organisation in Australia - says that while you might be the one caring for your pet, they can also support and care for you in unspoken ways.
So, if you’re wondering whether a puppy or dog might make a welcome addition to your life, here are some extra benefits to consider. Of course, if you do struggle with mental health issues, you should seek the advice of your doctor before adopting a pet.
Puppies make great companions
Nearly everyone experiences loneliness at some stage during their life. And while it’s important to keep the company of friends and family during these difficult times, a puppy can also prove to be a loyal, affectionate, and near-constant companion. Because raising a puppy requires a lot of time, effort and dedication, you’re guaranteed to be spend a lot of time together. It also means that you won’t have as much time to feel lonely with all the walking, feeding, playing, cuddling, cleaning, and napping.
Puppies never judge
Given that puppies can hear about four-times the distance of us humans, it should come as no surprise that they also make great listeners (well, most of the time). And while they may not be able to respond the same way a human can, what they lack in conversation they certainly make up for in unconditional love and a complete lack of judgement. Puppies don’t care if you don’t sound smart enough or have witty one-liners, they’re just happy to be with you.
Puppies attract new friends
Owning a puppy - or even minding one on the regular - can be a great way to increase your social interaction and meet some new friends. Mingling with other dog owners at the beach or park may seem a little daunting at first (especially if you’re socially anxious), but once you realize that you already have something in common, it’s surprisingly easy to strike up a conversation.
Puppies are good for your heart
Although it feels like your heart might burst every time you see a cute puppy, chances are, they’re actually going to have the opposite effect on your cardiovascular health. Taking your pup on regular walks, playing with them, and (occasionally) chasing after them will not only do wonders for your fitness levels, it will also give you more endorphins which can help relieve pain or stress and boost happiness. Even just petting a dog has been proven to help slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and increase the production of oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’.
Puppies provide a sense of purpose
Here’s the thing about puppies: they love routine. They also have a pretty good sense of time. So don’t even think about staying bed all day, missing a meal or forgoing that walk. Your puppy is relying on you to take care of them, and yourself. There’s no denying that raising a puppy is a lot of hard work, but this can also bring new motivation and a sense of purpose to your life. Adding more structure and responsibility to you day can not only improve your self esteem, it can also help to manage mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.