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How Dogs Can Relieve Work-Related Stress

Let’s face it – not everyone is working their dream job, and for some of us, the pressures of work doesn’t stay confined to the office. It’s natural to bring stress home, and over time, it can have a seriously detrimental effect on your mental and physical health. The problem is, with all of your energy going towards work, it can be hard to find the motivation to counteract its negative effects!

You may be rolling your eyes at the thought of a dog, especially since it’s hard to imagine taking on any added responsibility to your life at the moment. However, the truth is that there are a lot of parts about owning a dog that can reap enormous benefits for your state of mind.

There’s no doubt that it’s an enormous responsibility, but if you’re willing to try it, you may just find that being a dog owner is exactly what you need to overcome work-related stress. That’s why, if you’ve ever found yourself thinking ‘I hate my job’, you owe it to yourself to at least consider this as a way to introduce some positivity back into your life.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the key ways that having a dog counteracts work-related stress. Let’s dive in!

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Being Around Your Dog is Good For Your Brain

Interestingly enough, some of the most important benefits of having a dog are the subconscious effects. According an article in to scientific american, multiple studies have found heightened levels of beta-endorphin, oxytocin and dopamine in both people and dogs after they interact. These neurochemicals are associated with feelings of positivity and connection, and are similar to the feelings we experience when we spend time with someone we love.

The same article points out that those heightened levels of neurochemicals are even more pronounced when people and dogs that already know each other interact. Essentially, there is a neurological foundation of the attachment and connection we feel with our pets!

Crucially, these feelings work to reduce and counteract the negative effects of stress in the same way as when we spend time with a human that we love. Dogs are naturally loving companions, their friendship provides us with the decompression and support that can get us through difficult periods. It may seem crazy, but the data doesn’t lie!

Here’s another thing to consider: as countless dog owners will tell you, you may be surprised by how much you fall in love with your new companion. We know that these feelings passively relieve stress, but caring about your dog will motivate you to do things that your dog enjoys. This means getting out of the house and exercising, which also has a hugely positive effect on your stress levels.

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A Breath of Fresh Air

As we all know, physical exercise is one of the best antidotes to stress available to us. However, the biggest obstacle to exercise can simply be finding the motivation to get going! This is particularly true after a stressful day at work. Far too often, we fall prey to the same cycle: work, get home, get ready for work, sleep, repeat.

After a while, this cycle can lead you down a dangerous spiral towards lethargy and depression. Here’s where a dog comes in: you don’t have a choice about getting out of the house and exercising. Even if you’re tired, you’ll find the energy to get up and take your dog for a walk. Afterwards, you’ll be happy that you did! The fresh air and exercise will leave you feeling far better than if you had simply stayed in.

On a larger scale, dogs can also motivate you to get out and explore places that you would have never gone to otherwise. Going for hikes in nature is like heaven for a dog, and you’ll find that the experience gives you a breath of fresh air and a new perspective on things. Regularly recharging your battery is vital for surviving a difficult workplace, and nothing helps you make that part of your routine better than a dog!

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A Different Kind of Responsibility


Dogs are a lot smarter than we give them credit for, so caring for one goes far beyond providing food and exercise. Every dog needs mental stimulation, so be prepared to spend a lot of time keeping your dog active and learning new things. For some ideas, check out our article on how to train your dog for some ideas!

While commands like “sit”, “stay”, “heel”, and “come here” are essential in the beginning, after a while you can graduate to tricks that are meant to entertain you, your dog, and your friends. Here are some of the most rewarding, and silliest, tricks for your dog to learn:

Ultimately, having a dog is an enormous responsibility: you’re not bringing it into your home simply to entertain and comfort you, but to provide it with the best life that it can have. These animals are capable of intense emotions, so you have to be prepared to devote plenty of time to your dog’s health and happiness!

However, it’s easier than it seems. When you love something, you’ll find yourself wanting to do whatever you can to bring joy to its life. Watching your dog grow and be happy is incredibly gratifying. Often, this process feels even more gratifying than our work-related accomplishments.

If you’re on the fence, here’s a very common approach for people who have never had a dog: try fostering one that’s waiting for adoption. You’ll be introduced to the positives and negatives of the experience, and you can see for yourself whether this is the right fit for you. Good luck!

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