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Anyone who has ever had their day yanked out of the dark by a wagging, spinning, leaping ball of love who is overjoyed to welcome them home knows it’s hard to quantify the ways being a pet parent makes life better. Researchers, however, have figured out a few scientific strategies that spell out the benefits our loyal puppy pals leave in their wake. Let’s dig into 5 ways science has shown dogs improve our mental health and 5 ways they enhance our physical health.

5 Proven Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

If we learned anything from the pandemic apart from the value of safeguarding toilet paper, it was the emotional benefit of having a dog. Here’s what recent research has revealed about specific ways this is true:

Having a dog:

  • Reduces loneliness
  • Can reduce stress and anxiety
  • Can boost mood
  • Can increase feelings of social connection
  • Can improve coping skills

 1. Owning a dog reduces feelings of loneliness

Just ask Charlie Brown. The stats back him up. Eighty-five percent of respondents in a nationally representative survey of pet owners and non-pet owners agreed that pets can help reduce loneliness. The survey was conducted by the , a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that works to advance the vital role of the human-animal bond in the health and well-being of people, pets and communities.

Loneliness can seriously impact our health. Studies have found it to be a risk factor for both morbidity (the state…

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