Feeling Blue or Stressed Out? Get a Dog

Across the country, millions of households own at least one dog. In fact, it’s estimated that about 44 percent of families across the U.S. have at least one dog and that the canine population is nearly 80 million. For many people, their dogs are considered family members and treated as such, with special dog treats and toys and more. Why do people like dogs so much, though? For starters, they’re typically always affectionate and excited to see their owners. They’re great at reminding people to play and have a little fun with life and can do wonders in helping people let go of their stress a bit. Because of this, some people with mental disorders even opt to own dogs because they often help with overcoming social anxiety disorder.

It turns out that anxiety disorders are among the most common types of mental illnesses in the country and affects an estimated 40 million adults each and every year. These mental disorders are so common that experts estimate about one in four U.S. adults live with some type of diagnosable mental disorder. Among the variety of anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder impacts nearly 7.7 million adults alone each year, which equates to about 3.5 percent of the population.

With such high rates, many people with mental illnesses have opted to have a dog as a type of emotional support aid in their mission of overcoming social anxiety disorder and other mental diseases. Fortunately, adopting a dog is pretty simple for most people and there are specialists available to help ensure emotional support dogs get all the required training needed to help their owners overcome their mental disorder. Many apartments and town homes also welcome dogs so long as the necessary fees are paid and rules such as excessive barking are abided by.

Just how effective are emotional support dogs? Well, according to recent surveys, about 75 percent of people claim their dogs have helped their mental health. For example, many reported a decrease in depression, anxiety, and other ailments. What do you think? Does your household have a dog? How does your dog impact your mental health?