To most of us, it might be rather obvious that owning a dog improves your physical health! Think about all the physical work that’s a part of caring for your furry friend (e.g. taking them for walks, grooming them, bathing them and so on). Although the relationship between dog ownership and enhanced mental health may be less obvious to some, many quote a strong correlation between owning a dog and improved mental well-being, as well as rely on dogs for therapeutic needs!
I’m sure all of you have heard of the popular adage that ‘Dogs are man’s best friend’. This is indeed true as many dogs have been bright rays of sunshine for those with mental illness. According to Therapy Dogs Singapore (TDS), therapy dogs have the potential to improve emotional well-being, in areas such as:
- loneliness & isolation
- helplessness & hopelessness
- low self-esteem
- stress reduction
Case in point, take a look at the wide smiles of NUS students partaking in Pawfriends’ therapy dog program! (Source: TodayOnline) This event is held every end of the semester, organized as a session to help students relieve the stress of finals, with frequent positive feedback.
Pet Ownership Influences on ADHD
Another interesting fact: dog ownership can help people with neuro-developmental disorders too! Based on an article from Mental Health Foundation, the responsibility of taking care and playing with a pet can help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Their rationale is that walking a dog is an excellent way to burn off excess energy through a positive outlet and a friend! In particular, they also quote that “Fresh air and good circulation from aerobic exercise increases oxygen-filled blood flow to a child’s brain, therefore increasing their ability to concentrate”. As such, playing with dogs as exercise may provide an opportunity for children with ADHD to enhance their concentration span, while breaking down the responsibility of pet-care related tasks may build their resilience and planning skills.
Take care of a furry friend today!
Overall, you can reap numerous mental health benefits from owning a dog, from stress-relief, to motivation for exercise, and the ability to focus on the bright side of things – just from their attitude! Kids of all backgrounds can learn responsibility from the needs of caring for a dog, while also serving as a positive opportunity to practice these skills. Having a dog may vastly improve your quality of life, bringing both health and fun to you when after arriving home after a long day of work/school!
If you are considering adoption, do contact Uncle Khoe’s K9 shelter to learn more about the dogs who need a family, and their special requirements! (But do remember that a dog is for life, so be sure to take into consideration your commitments, available time, family needs, and other responsibilities – before committing to adopting a dog.)
For more details, our blog also has more posts about the individual dogs, while the Uncle Khoe’s K9 Shelter Instagram has a strong collection of images sharing their lives.