Sunday, June 16, 2024

Does Having A Dog Help With Depression

Study Design And Participants

Depression In Dogs – Causes, Treatment and How To Cheer Your Dog Up | Vet Explains

A cross-sectional study was conducted among the pet owners and non-pet owners. First, the sample size was calculated with the software Epi Info 7 . Based on previous findings, it was assumed that the minimal prevalence of depression among pet owners is 13% and among non-pet owners is 36% . Therefore, the alpha error was set to 5%, and the power of the study was set at 99%. According to the Fleiss with CC formula, 133 participants were required in each group, which increased to 140, and thus a total of 280 participants were to be recruited.

The eligibility criteria for both groups were that participants must be aged 13 years old or above and live in Dhaka, an urban area in Bangladesh. Participants who refused to give informed consent to participate were excluded from the study.

To maximize the number of responses we used both online and offline methods for collecting the data. Face-to-face interviews and a web-based survey ran simultaneously between December 2019 and March 2020. Each face-to-face interview lasted for 20 to 25 minutes.

The face-to-face interviews with pet owners were conducted in a veterinary clinic located within the study area. Pet owners were invited to ask their non-pet-owning friends who met the inclusion criteria to participate. In addition, non-pet-owning participants were randomly solicited in public locations to complete the offline questionnaire if they met the inclusion criteria.

International Dog Day: 5 Ways Dogs Can Help Us Deal With Depression And Anxiety

  • People suffering from mental health issues like depression and anxiety could benefit from the company of a dog.

For many pet parents, their furry companions are their ultimate source of joy. They can go on and on about the time spent with them and the happiness they add to their lives. Especially in the times of coronavirus pandemic, when everything is still and lacklustre, presence of a dog in the house can improve mood of those around. Numerous studies have found how a dog can sense the mood and emotions of its owner, and that itself is a comforting feeling.

People suffering from mental health issues like depression and anxiety could benefit from the company of a dog as their unconditional love and touch could bring down stress levels and release happy hormones.

Health experts across the world have acknowledged the positive effects of a pet in a person’s life.

Emotional support animals or psychiatric assistance dogs are widely accepted as complementary therapy along with traditional counselling and treatment for patients with mental disorders. Trained by experts, these animals can provide the necessary support and safety to their handlers, says Dr. Neha Patel, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital.

Here are five benefits of a dog for patients suffering from mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.

Follow more stories on &

Is One Animal Better Than Another To Boost My Mental Health

Most of the research has focused on the mental health benefits of horses and dogs.

For example, a 2016 study found dog owners had the highest overall feelings of well-being, compared to cat owners and non-pet people. This could be for a lot of reasons, says Davis.

Yes, cats can be more autonomous, while dogs generally aim to please, and are pack animals, but the greater sense of reward may be because they require more responsibility. Davis notes you might feel a bigger boost to your self-esteem because youre taking care of them and getting outside more.

However, for some people that added responsibility might be too much, especially if you have physical limitations that slow or prevent your ability to give the dogs the care and exercise they need.

In that case, a lower-maintenance pet such as a cat might be better.

You May Like: How Do I Stop Depression And Anxiety

They Help Us In Later Life

Pets make great companions, particularly for dementia patients. Dog-assisted therapy has been shown to improve mood, psychosocial functioning, and quality of life in people with dementia.

Many care homes have resident pets or receive regular visits from animals as part of their recreational schedule not only do they create a calmer, more homely environment for residents, its thought that they reduce anxiety in people with Alzheimers disease.

The Benefits Of Pet Ownership

Do Dogs Get Depression? How to Help Your Sad Dog
Robyn Yackulich, MS

Throughout history, animals have played a significant role in human life they were relied on for food, clothes, and transportation. In some civilizations animals were even glorified as religious deities. Over the last several centuries we have seen an evolution in the role of animals, primarily the increase in the number of animals typically dogs and cats that are being kept as domestic pets. While it is known that there are numerous responsibilities associated with having a pet, pet ownership in the United States has more than tripled in the last forty years. A survey in 2012 found that about two-thirds of American households have at least one pet, the majority of whom are regarded as valued family members. For what reasons would so many people want to assume the responsibility of owning a pet?

Pets can improve your mood and psychological well-being

Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than people without pets. People with limited human social supports often experience feelings of loneliness and isolation, both of which can worsen depression. A pet helps to decrease these feelings by providing companionship to its owner. Additionally, having a pet can also help to improve a persons social interactions with people by acting as a social catalyst and conversation ice breaker.”

Pets can help you live a longer life


Don’t Miss: Does Talking To Someone Help Depression

How A Dog Can Help With Depression

Dogs perform many different services for people, including helping us when were down. It isnt uncommon to see a therapy dog wandering down the halls of a nursing home, cheering up the patients inside.

New research has shown that dogs can help alleviate everything from depression to anxiety to aggression and other mental health problems. But how exactly does this work? And do all dogs relieve depression or is it the gift of a select few?

How Can I Choose The Right Pet For Me

You may have a strong idea of the pet you want perhaps because you grew up with that animal or you might not be so sure. When youre deciding, consider:

  • how much outdoor space you have
  • how active you are
  • how much time you have to spend with your pet
  • how much money you have for vets bills, insurance, food, toys, etc. There are charities that offer low-cost vet care, but they are limited to certain areas and have financial criteria.

Animal charity PDSA has an online quiz you can take to help you choose the right pet.

Don’t Miss: I Think I Suffer From Depression

How Pets Help People Suffering From Depression

According to Alan Beck, the director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, All people report feeling less lonely in the presence of animals even birds. Animals are good for everyone, but particularly for anxious and depressed people. For one thing, pets keep us anchored in the present and distract us from negative or anxious thoughts.3

Studies have shown that pets help people who are anxious or depressed focus on the present, because they have to pay attention to the care of their pet. Caring for another living creature improves their sense purpose and creates a feeling of being needed. One such study was conducted by Jennifer P. Wisdom, PhD, an associate professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and a research scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.3 Wisdom and her colleagues surveyed 177 individuals with mental illness to explore what factors affect recovery from their health problems. The researchers found that companion animals not only boost self-esteem, but also provide empathy, initiate social encounters, and serve as substitute or additional family members.3

A Dog Gives You A Sense Of Purpose

Can a service dog help with anxiety or depression Q& A

Because you love your dog and he or she loves you backmaybe even moreyou are motivated to nurture and take care of your pooch. This sense of responsibility makes you feel wanted and can improve your mental health by reducing depression, increasing your self-esteem, and providing an important sense of meaning for you.

Recommended Reading: Natural Supplements For Adhd And Depression

How Pet Ownership Benefits Your Mental Health

Pets are proven to help reduce stress and anxiety and, in many homes, they play a vital role in easing loneliness. Dogs in particular can contribute to cardiovascular health as well as a social side when youre out walking with them.

Studies show that pets can have huge benefits to your mental health, from childhood to old age.

To promote Mental Health Awareness week, weve come up with six ways that pet ownership could be benefitting your mental health:

Bouncing Back From Dog Depression

In the end it wasnt the car rides or dog parks or even the antidepressants Richer tried to help her dog, Terrace. Instead it was a friendly rescue dog she agreed to foster for a week. Benji walked in, ran up the stairs, found Terrace behind the mirror and when I got up there he was lying next to her and licking her, Richer said. Within a week, she was better. Now shes the happiest dog ever.

Jodie Richers, owner of Terrace founder of Dogs on Death Row in honor of her dog, Pumba. Roswell, Ga.

Bonnie Beaver, DVM, executive director, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists veterinary specialist in animal behavior, small animal clinic at Texas A& M University College of Veterinary Medicine, College Station, Texas.

John Ciribassi, DVM, past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior founder of Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants near Chicago.

Karen Sueda, DVM, diplomat, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and president elect of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior founder of the behavior service at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital, Los Angeles.


You May Like: What Causes Treatment Resistant Depression

Legal Protections For Your Service Dog

If you are thinking about acquiring a psychiatric service dog to help with your depression, you should be aware of what your legal protections are. Under the ADA, your service dog is permitted to enter into any public area, even ones that dogs arent usually allowed in, and onto airlines.

You will not be required to pay additional pet fees in any of these areas, and it is illegal for you to be treated differently or seated in a different area because you are entering into an establishment with your service dog.

More information about your legal rights when living and traveling with a psychiatric service dog can be found here.

Pets Protect Against Childhood Anxiety

4. Vizsla

A pet dog may protect children from anxiety, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A total of 643 children participated in the study. A little over half of them had pet dogs in the home. Researchers measured the childrens BMI , anxiety levels, screen time, and physical activity.

As a result, they found that all the children had similar BMIs, screen time, and physical activity. This held true whether or not they had pet dogs. But their anxiety levels were different. In fact, 21 percent of the children who did not have a pet dog tested positive on a screening test for anxiety. However, only 12 percent of children with dogs tested positive for anxiety.

Therefore, pets clearly have a beneficial effect on childhood stress and anxiety. As a result, children who grow up with pets may have a better chance of becoming happy and healthy teens.

Also Check: How To Help Someone With Severe Depression And Suicidal Thoughts

Which Dog Is Best For Lonely Person

The 10 Best Dog Breeds for People Who Live Alone Bullmastiff. Rottweiler. Boston Terrier. Maltese. Pekingese. Italian Greyhound. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Basset Hound. Possibly one of the sleepiest dogs around, the basset hound is a charming loaf of an animal whose steadfast loyalty will inspire you to be a better person.

Any Pet Can Improve Your Health

While its true that people with pets often experience greater health benefits than those without, a pet doesnt necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. A rabbit could be ideal if youre allergic to other animals or have limited space but still want a furry friend to snuggle with. Birds can encourage social interaction and help keep your mind sharp if youre an older adult. Snakes, lizards, and other reptiles can make for exotic companions. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and lower your pulse rate.

Studies have shown that:

  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
  • Playing with a dog, cat, or other pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without pets.
  • Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
  • Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

Affordable Online Therapy for Help and Support

Get professional help from BetterHelps network of licensed therapists.

Need urgent help? .

Recommended Reading: Can Headaches Be A Symptom Of Depression

Can A Psychiatric Service Dog Help With Depression

Psychiatric service dogs are trained to help with a number of mental health and psychiatric conditions, including depression. For someone who is disabled due to their experiences with depression, a service dog can be incredibly helpful in relieving some of the major symptoms of their condition and providing them with comfort in their day-to-day life.

In this article, we will discuss what a psychiatric service dog is in comparison to other types of service dogs. Then, well give you an idea of how a psychiatric service dog can help with depression and how you might go about receiving one, so you can get started on your journey to receiving necessary assistance.

The Extra Benefit Of Exercise

Pets Help With Depression

If your pet is a dog, especially an active one that loves walking, that can yield a second, equally important benefit: physical exercise, which is also key to a brain-healthy lifestyle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for good health and double that amount for greater health benefits. Brisk walking qualifies as moderate-intensity activity.

The payoff extends beyond enhanced brain health to weight control, improved cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength and reduced risk of chronic diseases and killers such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

We know that physical exercise, and aerobic exercise in particular, is very beneficial for maintaining brain health, even in people who are at risk for developing dementia and Alzheimers disease , says neuropsychologist Aaron Bonner-Jackson, PhD. You can make a major difference in terms of how your body is functioning and, as a result, how your brain is functioning.

Also Check: Does Depression Ever Go Away

An Animal Companion Helps With Mental Health

The link between dogs and companionship is one that anyone who owns a canine will be familiar with. Indeed, its no coincidence that dogs are often referred to as a mans best friend.

Its one of the reasons why pet therapy is a recognised form of treatment. It is not uncommon in places like aged care facilities or cancer and stroke recovery wards. Unsurprisingly, it also features in mental health treatment, which is why we have animals like therapy dogs for depression and anxiety. These are animals that are specifically trained to help people with a wide range of mental health concerns, include things like feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

Outside of group therapy and clinical settings, companion dogs make excellent friends for various reasons. Not only do they tend to show their owners unconditional love, loyalty and affection, they also provide a calming presence that can help with happiness and wellbeing. Human-animal interaction has been shown to have measurable clinical benefits, including reductions in stress and even increases in oxytocin levels .

Of course, theres a lot to be said for the fact that, even after a lousy day, your pet will probably be glad to greet you when you come home.

Provide A Sense Of Routine

Individuals struggling with depression may find it hard to move about their days on a regular basis or maintain any type of daily routine. As they care for a service dog, these individuals can develop a sense of routine and may find it easier to get up and go about their day, simply because their dog is depending on them for care.

Read Also: How Can I Help Someone That Is Depressed

How Humans Benefit Dogs

The human-dog relationship is not only beneficial to humans. Humans also contribute to the mental wellbeing of dogs. Dogs are social animals and therefore thrive in family dynamics. Other aspects of pet parenting, including the care and maintenance of a pup, help increase a dogs happiness and mental wellbeing.

Establishing a Routine

Dogs tend to be creatures of habit. Routines decrease their stress, as they dont have to worry about what is or isnt going to happen throughout their day. Establishing a routine for meals, dog playtime, and walks is a great way to keep your furry friend happy and calm. Dogs in good spirits are also less likely to be destructive or have accidents in the home.


Exercise is just as important to your dogs health as it is to your health. Regular exercise has heart health benefits for dogs, as well as helping to maintain a healthy weight. This can prolong their lives and helps reduce the risk of disease. It also provides mental stimulation for dogs, which is an important part of keeping them happy. You can exercise your pet indoors or outdoors, depending on factors such as weather. Both types of exercise are beneficial and can be used to supplement each other depending on your dog’s needs.

Securing Basic Needs

  • Medical care

Popular Articles
Related news