Dogs have been known to provide many benefits to those who are fortunate enough to own one. From unconditional love to protection, they give their whole lives to us. But what else are dogs capable of? Many studies have shown that dogs help fight many mental illness problems such as depression and anxiety and help us live healthier lives.

Over 16 million people in the United States suffer from depression and 350 million worldwide. Depression can lead to other health-related issues such as insomnia, fatigue, weight gain, difficulty concentrating and lack of interest in everyday life.

So how do dogs help with depression?

Dogs are unlike most animals in which they provide us with total companionship and unconditional love. According to Teri Wright, Ph.D. from WebMD, a bond between a dog and a human is beneficial for patients with anxiety and depression. We can rely on dogs to always be there for us and provide unbiased, nonjudgmental friendship. Even in times of hardship, dogs will never criticize past mistakes or decisions.

As well as companionship, dogs help us get out and moving. Walking a dog and getting exercise boosts the serotonin in our bodies which help lead to an overall state of well-being and happiness. This also leads to better blood pressure and an increase in energy.

Dogs also encourage more responsibility and scheduling which provides value to everyday activities. When there’s a furry friend that relies on you for feeding them in the morning and going out for a walk at the end of the day, this can help you realize how important you really are.

Check out the infographic below for more ways dogs help fight depression.

If you feel like you’re having signs of depression, it’s important to seek professional help. Dogs are a great support in hard times, but won’t replace professional help.

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