We all love animals! Their cute faces, wagging tails, mischievous spirits, and loving nature. Nothing beats petting and playing with your furry friend, but did you know not only is it fun, it might actually make you less stressed? Here’s how:


How can owning a dog make me less stressed?


1. Increased social support: Dog owners often walk their dog, take their dogs to dog parks, and attend doggy “play dates”, where they meet other dog owners. Many people often stop to pet their dog on the street which also increases social interaction. In addition to human support, dogs themselves also provide companionship which can help prevent illness and even add years to your life. Caring for an animal can make you feel needed and wanted, and provides a distraction from daily stresses or problems. Some people even talk to their pet about their problems as a way to walk themselves through it. You can be sure your secrets are safe with your pup because well...let’s face it..they can’t speak, but even if they could..they are way too loyal to spill! 



2. Increased energy: Pet owners often take their dog on hikes or runs, which increases one’s exercise. Exercise not only improves your health, but boosts your mood, energy levels, and releases stress.



3. Increased health benefits: Studies show that pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which decreases the chance of heart disease. In addition, studies show that pet owners have lower blood pressure, reduced pulse rate, and reduced muscle tension.



4. Reduces anxiety: Pets are known to offer comfort and boost self-esteem. Since pets aren’t aware of daily stresses, they can act as a reminder to live in the moment and enjoy the little things in life, such as they enjoy a big bone or cold bowl of water. In addition, the act of petting your cat or dog can lower blood pressure, causing you to feel calm and less stressed. Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax you.



5. Adds structure and routine to your day: Since dogs require daily care, it gives pet owners a routine. You feed your dog every morning, walk them three times a day, play with them, etc. This creates a daily schedule and gives you structure, which reduces stress and depression.



Dogs are truly amazing and can fill your life with so much joy. If you are looking to adopt a dog of your own, here is a list of some of the best non-kill shelters in the United States:


-No-kill- Los Angeles: https://nkla.org


-No-kill- Utah: https://nkut.org 


-Best Friends- New York: https://ny.bestfriends.org/?_ga=2.163608252.2050266886.1591236199-267488586.1591236199 


-Best Friends- Atlanta: https://bestfriends.org/our-work/regional-programs/best-friends-atlanta


-Austin Pets Alive! – Texas: https://www.austinpetsalive.org 


-City of San Jose Animal Care & Services – California: https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/departments-offices/animal-care-services/animal-care-services-2


-Multnomah County Animal Services – Oregon: https://multcopets.org 


-Tompkins County SPCA – New York: http://spcaonline.com


-Nevada Humane Society – Nevada: https://nevadahumanesociety.org 


-Arizona Animal Welfare League – Arizona: https://aawl.org