National Dog Day is being celebrated in the U.S. today. Started in 2004 by Colleen Paige, a pet lifestyle expert and writer, National Dog Day draws attention to the very high number of dogs that need saving each year. Paige, among other groups, hopes that a day like today will improve living conditions for dogs.
And since today is Nation Dog Day, we’d like to share some promising news about dog ownership. Depression symptoms may be improved with some help from man’s best friend. Pet ownership is serious business in America, about 62 percent of homes in America have some type of pet and 45 billion is spent on them each year. And a recent study found that pets are totally worth it. The study found that pet owners, especially dog owners, tended to be happier and less depressed. They also found that just thinking about Fido could help stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation.
The study looked at 167 pet owners and 50 non-pet owners. They measured levels of happiness, depression and well being. They also questioned 56 dog owners regarding the support they get from their dog. The main findings were that pet owners in general have a greater sense of well being. Dog owners, in particular were less depressed, less lonely, had higher self-esteem, were happier and tended to have less stress. And just thinking about your pet was as helpful as thinking about a friend or loved one to fend off loneliness.
Past studies have shown that dog owners in general are less depressed especially if the owners are single or female. And it makes sense, it’s hard to be sad when floppy ears and a tongue lolling out of a wide, grinning, furry face is looking back at you, just happy you are around. Knowing something loves you unconditionally is always a boost.
Still, we don’t suggest you go out and get a dog just because you’re depressed. They are a lot of work and deserve an owner willing to put in the time to love and care for them. But if you were on the fence about dog ownership, consider that they are not only a great companion and stress reliever but will also keep you more active and healthy. After all, they are people’s best friend.