Do Dogs Really Help You Deal with Mental Health Issues?

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Have you been scrolling through hundreds of cute dog reels and cannot stop swiping further? Well, the overloaded cuteness makes it tough to stop. This is why many people adopted dogs during the COVID-19 lockdown, as they had tons of time at home and needed a way to deal with stress. If you have been thinking the same, think again.

How do I know about this subject? I did not adopt a dog but bought one from  shar pei puppies for sale. I got a dog during the pandemic, too; hence, who better tell you it’s reality other than me?

It was super exciting to bring home a cute little puppy. All those reels I saw would come true, and I had a faithful companion who would help me fight mental illness during the lockdown.

It took me a day and a half before I realized what I had done? Was it really as easy as everybody made it seem? Why was I not having those super cute moments with the dog? Maybe it was because I was busy cleaning my house so that it did not smell like dog pee or stopping the dog from chewing on my expensive furniture pieces.

This was not something alien happening to me as I realized most dog owners go through this phase, but I was just not prepared for it. After all, those dog videos did not really show me this side of the reality of raising a dog. So what is the truth behind getting a dog for mental health aid? Well, I have decoded that below.

You Need to Put in Work to Get the Benefits:

If you love how dogs bond with their owners and want the same, you must first work towards it. Bringing home a dog does not guarantee that. You have to create that bond with the dog by training it, walking it, and feeding it. It takes time to build a certain bond with the dog. Usually, it is not a long period, but you have to keep interacting with the animal. You cannot just hire a dog walker or someone to care for the dog and assume you will get all the affection and attention. You have to work for it. As you tend to the animal, they understand that you care for them; hence they will reciprocate the same feeling in their own way. Any time you spend with them can be a bonding time. Train them daily, which will make them easily manageable and also increase your bonding time with the dog.

Know What an Emotional Support Dog Is:

Many people assume that any dog can be used as an emotional support dog. Most dogs can do that, but you have to spend time training the dog first. If you get a puppy, then you have to be patient for the puppy to learn and grow. If you have issues like extreme anxiety, then a puppy is not a good idea, as they can sometimes really get on your nerves. Better get an adult dog that is already trained so that you do not have to deal with the stress of initial training and only focus on forming a bond with the dog.

Understand What Works for You:

One situation may work for someone else but not you. You have to decide what works best for you. If you are allergic, you have to get a hypoallergenic dog breed. If you are a senior citizen, opt for smaller dog breeds that do not need much physical activity. If you are busy, get a breed that does not suffer much from separation anxiety. You have to analyze your situation and deduce what works best for you. Also, dogs with double coats shed, which means you have to put in extra cleaning time. If that is something you do not wish to do, get low shedding dog breeds like Poodles or designer Doodles which makes it easier to keep the home cleaner.

Do They Really Help to Improve Your Mental Health?

Yes, dogs can definitely make you feel less anxious and extremely loved. Having said that, you have to take care of the dog and train it. Feeding and walking them is a part that can be stressful to many. Especially if you get a highly energetic dog and cannot give it much time, then their destructive nature will actually get on your nerves and stress you more. You need to understand that getting just any dog will not do the trick. Get a dog that you can really manage and fits into your lifestyle. Only then the dog will blend into your daily routine, and just taking care of the dog itself does not stress you out. 

Having said that, a trained dog actually, over time, becomes the greatest gift ever. The bond a dog shares with you is unique and irreplaceable. Just holding your dog will help release happy hormones and reduce hormones, which are great for anyone who suffers from anxiety. There are specific breeds that are more popular as emotional support animals, like Labrador Retrievers. These are affectionate dogs that sense your mood and offer you relief immediately by showing affection. They stay closer to you always and lick your face and ears when you seem upset. If you are a dog lover, you will understand how adorable that is.

The Bottom Line:

I am not discouraging anyone from getting a dog, as a dog person will always love to have one around, but if you are just getting one because they are cute, you have to reconsider your options. If you are willing to put in the work and care for the animal as much as you expect it to care for you, then maybe you are ready. There will be good days and there will be bad days; learn to take it with a pinch of salt. Getting a dog is an excellent idea if you decide to keep one for the right reasons.

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