Ways Pets Improve Mental Health Part 1

This week at Imagine Hope, we are discussing the impact your four-legged friends can make on your mental health. Did you know that research shows owning a dog or a cat can reduce blood pressure, decrease stress, and boost levels of endorphins in your brain? It’s amazing how impactful these family members can be on our lives!

Unconditional Love

No one shows unconditional love better than a pet. After a long day’s work, you walk in the door and they are happy to see you. Their tales wag, they bark or meow, and get really excited. It doesn’t matter what happened to you throughout the day; whether you got honked at in traffic, failed a test in school, or just had a bad break-up. They are just so happy to see YOU!

When your pet shows you this type of love, dopamine and serotonin get released in your brain. These “feel good” neurotransmitters cause you to feel happy and relaxed. It’s just one of the many ways your pets can make you feel good!

For more information on the science behind and current research on unconditional love in dogs, check out this recent clip from Anderson Cooper:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/anderson-cooper-does-your-dog-really-love-you/

Check back this week as we cover more ways that pets improve our mental health!

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.