Top 5 ways your dog helps you de-stress


There’s no getting around the fact we’re living in stressful times. But the good news is that our dogs can help significantly lower our stress levels. Check out the top five ways they do it!

To say the past couple of years have been stressful is an understatement. On the plus side, studies show that interacting with dogs markedly reduces stress in humans. Here are the top five ways your four-legged friend can help you de-stress and feel calmer during these difficult times.

1) Touching, Petting and Stroking Reduce Stress

Feeling the softness of your dog’s fur or the warmth of her body releases endorphins in your brain and body, easing your tension and helping you feel more relaxed. Research has found that a loving touch, whether from a human or animal, can also reduce blood pressure and heart rate. Even sharing a gaze with your dog can bring about feelings of warmth and love.

2) The Sound of Her Voice Lifts Your Spirits

Not only are touching and gazing relaxing and beneficial, but listening to your dog’s voice is also calming. A happy bark has soothing qualities. And there’s nothing quite like the joy and release we feel when our dogs happily greet us at the door, ready to welcome us home with their unconditional love.

Did you know? Stanley Coren, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, has studied canine barks and determined that one or two short, sharp barks means “hello.”

The therapeutic effects of dogs

Given how beneficial the companionship of a dog is, it’s not surprising that these animals are used in a wide variety of therapy programs, visiting hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other facilities to help relieve stress in patients, residents, and students. As dog parents, this type of therapy is available to us day and night, all year round!

3) She Helps You Make New Friends

Having a network of supportive friends is vital to our happiness and well-being, particularly when we’re feeling stressed. Having a dog often helps people make new friends. A prime example is meeting fellow dog lovers while taking your pooch for a stroll or a romp at the dog park. Many people also make connections online by joining groups or forums devoted to dogs.

Did you know? Over 30% of animal parents say their dogs help them meet other people and 60% have made friends with fellow animal lovers, according to a study by the University of Western Australia and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

4) You Get More Exercise

Physical activity is frequently touted as a great way to decrease stress, and having a dog ensures you get some every day! Just going for a walk, hike or run with your dog increases the amount of time you engage in exercise.

Did you know? 25% of dog parents walk around 2.5 hours more per week than those without dogs.

5) Last but Not Least, She Gives You Love

Dogs give us unconditional love, something we don’t get from too many fellow humans. Loving and caring for your dog will help calm, ground, and uplift you when you feel anxious or depressed You can be sure your dog loves you no matter how you look, what mood you’re in, what mistakes you made that day, or whether or not the house is tidy. In other words, you don’t have to impress her, and that’s a great antidote to stress.


Nadia Ali is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about all things dog-related.