It is estimated that approximately one in four people in the UK will suffer a mental health problem at some point every year. And dogs really can make all the difference – their kindness and companionship getting their owners through the darkest of days.
In addition to helping alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness, there are all the benefits that come from regularly exercising your dog. Daily walks outdoors boost physical and emotional wellbeing, and there are recognised benefits for our mental health of being outside in green space.
One thing which has become so apparent since lockdown, is that social interactions, just looking at someone you walk past and acknowledging with a hello, has significantly disappeared. It can be difficult when you try to make eye contact and say a courteous hello or good morning, and find it rebuked with eyes staring away from you.
But have you found that if you’re walking a dog, it almost doubles a successful interaction? Going for a dog walk can increase social interaction - people talk to you more readily and often a dog provides common ground. Sometimes this might be the only social contact an isolated person may have that day which is so sad.
What is amazing is that dogs can help with our confidence. By being by our side during these social interactions, it can greatly help with what could otherwise be a source of anxiety for some.
What is clear is that their loyalty provides us with companionship without any judgement and an endless supply of unconditional love. It’s no wonder they alleviate our stress, depression, anxiety and loneliness.
Dogs are great, and that can never be in doubt.
Love Cam and Jules x
with contribution from The Kennel Club