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Dog Companionship and Mental Health


Dog Companionship and Mental Health

After what can only be described as a tough couple of years for many due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have all been looking for ways to improve our mental health and reduce stress. From long walks enjoying nature to connecting with friends and family, there are many ways to improve our mental health, including dog companionship. Spending time with pets, including dogs offers powerful physical and mental health benefits.

How does dog companionship improve mental and physical health?

Making small healthy lifestyle changes plays a role in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. From increased exercise on walks to companionship and meeting new people, caring for a dog offers a lifeline to those looking to combat loneliness and improve physical health.

Recent studies have shown that:

✅ Playing with a dog or other pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals that create calm and relaxation.

✅ Those who spend time with pets such as dogs and cats are less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t.

Pet owners aged 65 or over make 30% fewer visits to the GP than those without pets.

✅ Those with pets typically have lower blood pressure in stressful situations, than those with no pets.

Can’t commit to a dog full time?

There are many alternatives to dog ownership, including becoming a Barking Mad Host. Barking Mad can offer you the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of dog companionship without the commitment of being a dog owner.

Barking Mad provides holidays for dogs with loving host families as an alternative to kennels. Host families enjoy all the benefits of dog companionship without any of the full-time or financial commitment. Your Barking Mad local branch carefully matches dogs with the appropriate host families who continue the dogs’ home life routines from exercising and feeding times to cuddles and naps.

Barking Mad Dog Sitting Host

Barking Mad host Iris shared her experience of hosting: “I really do love my role. It is absolutely priceless company and considering the joy it brings you. I would recommend it to anybody especially if they live on their own as I do. When I lost my husband and my beautiful Staffordshire bull terrier in the same year, I was absolutely devastated. But hosting brought me right back up as I was down in a very dark place.”

Read more host stories here.

If you would like more information on joining the Barking Mad Host community, please submit the enquiry form here.

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