Mental Health Benefits of Having a Dog

January 15, 2021 Brandy Eaklor

I never realized how many mental health benefits of having a dog there were until I couldn't see my dog regularly. Once my ex and I broke up, I moved to an apartment where I couldn't have dogs. Now that I am moving out, I know having my dog is a must for my mental health. In this article, I will go over all of the mental health benefits of having a dog. 

Mental Health Benefits a Dog Can Provide

  • Companionship -- Dogs are referred to as "man's best friend" and for a good reason. Having a dog around can help you to not feel so alone, especially during tough times. Sometimes, with mental health issues comes isolation. Pets can provide some company during these times, though you should still try to have contact with humans too. 
  • Inspiration -- As silly as it may sound, many dog owners do find inspiration just watching their dogs go through life. Dogs don't worry about the past or future; they live in the present. Watching them find joy in the smallest and simplest of things can help you to do the same. 
  • Exercise -- For someone who struggles with depression, a dog can be a great asset. Because they need to go out regularly, you may feel more inclined to get up and go for walks. Exercise releases endorphins, making you feel better overall. Plus, you'll get the added bonus of sunlight and fresh air -- all of which helps with mental health.

Should You Own a Dog for Your Mental Health?

  • Do your research -- Before you purchase a dog, it is important to research different breeds. Choosing a dog that doesn't match your personality could actually cause more stress and anxiety with the added responsibility. For example, getting a dog that sheds a lot or needs regular grooming may be too much for you to handle. 
  • Try a test run -- Some shelters and breeders will allow you to temporarily house a dog to see if it is a good fit for you and your family. This gives you a real-life chance to see if you are ready to have a dog.

Dogs make great companions that may actually be beneficial to your mental health. While there are many mental health benefits of having a dog, dog ownership is not for everyone. Or at least, not all dogs are for everyone. Do research to see if having a dog could benefit your lifestyle and your mental health.

See Also

APA Reference
Eaklor, B. (2021, January 15). Mental Health Benefits of Having a Dog, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Brandy Eaklor

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