How a dog could improve your mental wellbeing

how to heal your head - helen penny illustration.jpg

You can't deny that the company of a dog can lift your mood in an instant. 

..Unless you hate dogs. (You're in the wrong place).

My dog's unwavering presence has helped me - more than a human ever could - through the shitty times and through the moments of madness in my head.

How can owning a dog improve your mental wellbeing?

1. Company

Dogs are instinctual pack animals; the bond you can build with them is powerful. Adopt the right breed and you'll never be alone again.

2. A reason to leave the house

You have no option but to go outside for 1-3 walks a day. These walks provide the time for observation and contemplation. They offer fresh air and a break from your day. Moments spent in greenery can put you back in touch with nature; it takes you away from a screen and into the real world.

3. Routine

Dogs need routine and aren't afraid to let you know when you're behind schedule.

If you're struggling to find a reason to get out of bed, an eager pup after their breakfast will definitely give you that boost of motivation. Having a creature to care for each day gives life a purpose; you'll always feel important. 

4. Social life

As if by magic, once you own a dog you'll receive a lot more invitations from friends to meet... funny that.

Strangers will stop to talk to you in the street and you'll fit right into the local dog-walking community. It's a great way to meet people as you'll always have common ground and can talk about dogs for hours on end.

5. Sense of security

Loyalty is a dog's middle name. When your life may be unstable, a dog's devotion could provide the sense of security you're looking for. 

6. Stress relief

The concept of a therapy dog is nothing new. Affection and some good old-fashioned fuss is a proven way to decrease blood pressure and get those feel-good hormones flowing.

So have a good spoon with your pup, hell, share the bed with them if you like (screw the haters).

7. Presence

With the risk of sounding a bit woo-woo.. When interacting with a dog - tug of war for example - you are in tune with your senses and are present in that very moment. Your attention is focused on that activity and on them. You aren't thinking ahead, or looking into the past, you are - what us millennials call - practising 'mindfulness.'

8. Entertainment

I could watch my dog for hours. They are such a pleasant distraction. 

I can't speak for all breeds, but pugs have huge characters and are always fun to observe. They play, eat, sleep.. even poop with expression. 

9. Unconditional love

For dog will never judge you.


...have I convinced you yet? #getadog


Helen Pennu

About the Author

Helen Penny is a gap-toothed illustrator, maker & pug owner from Bournemouth, UK

She is interested in petting dogs & exploring the impact they have on society

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