How Owning A Dog Can Positively Effect Your Emotions

by Nicole Gibbs
In anticipation of Z Living's upcoming original show Finding Fido, where underwater dog photographer (yes, that's right) and behaviorist Seth Casteel hosts plays matchmaker each week between a person and a pooch, we're collecting and telling a series of heart-warming pet stories. Follow along and check back often; we'll have plenty to share!

We all know that dogs are awesome. Who else is unquestionably happy to see us, every single time we walk in the door? Who else knows when we're having a bad day, and comforts us with no questions asked? Who else will just listen, any time, any place?
There are so many ways dogs help us feel good, and as it turns out, owning a pet is one of the single most beneficial things we can do to boost our emotions, add to our happiness, and reduce feelings of depression or loneliness. Here's how:

Owning a Dog Helps Reduce Stress

Multiple studies have shown that owning a dog can help to reduce stress. Dogs cause our bodies to release hormones that combat cortisol, the stress hormone. Petting a friendly dog that you are familiar with has shown to lower blood pressure and reduce heart rate as well as aid in muscle relaxation — all great things for creating positive emotions.
Also on Z LIving: 7 Reasons Why Senior Dogs Make Great Pets

A Canine Companion is Good for Mind, Body and Soul

Dogs encourage us to get up and move. They need to be walked, played with, bathed, and fed. They need interaction and they demand a relationship. Playing with your dog can elevate levels of dopamine and serotonin, the chemicals that make us feel good. Walking your dog is a great way to get out of the house and get some exercise. A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology followed 400 patients after they were released from the hospital after having a heart attack. The ones who owned pets had significantly higher survival rates after one year.
When we feel good physically, it helps us to feel good mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Additionally, dogs raise our spirits. Dogs are always happy to see us and to spend time with us. They are easy to please, and they adore us.

Also on Z Living: Fostering A Deaf Dog Taught My Family To Communicate

Dogs Can Reduce Feelings of Depression and Anxiety

Dogs have been shown to reduce levels of depression and anxiety — and remember, depression is considered to be more disabling than many common health problems (diabetes, arthritis, back pain). While depression can have many triggers, loneliness is often be one of the biggest contributors. Not only do pet owners have a steady companion, but pets help owners socialize.

Also on Z Living: How Emotional Service Animals Help In Unexpected Ways
Owners meet people when at the dog park or during walks around the neighborhood. Dogs offer up a conversation starter and a way to bond with other people. Plus, owning a dog gives an owner a sense of purpose — something all happy humans need — and in return, offer unconditional love. What could be better?

WATCH on Z Living: Finding Fidowhere photographer and behaviorist Seth Casteel hosts plays matchmaker each week between a person and a pooch. Stay tuned, ​Finding Fido premieres on Z Living in 2017 (we know, we know, we're eager to watch too!) In the meantime, we'll be sharing plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, and yes, adorable dog pics from the set of Fido to keep you in the loop.

Tell us in the comments: Has your dog had a positive effect on your life? 

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