Can Dogs Help With Depression? – Mental Health Insider

I’m pretty sure a lot of you guys know this already, but if you don’t, then let me give you a little insider.

Dealing with a mental illness can be so time-consuming and draining. Sometimes we often think that we need some companionship before we lose our mind, and the first thing that lights up in our head it’s ” let’s get a dog.”

Can dogs help with depression or with any other mental disorder?

can dogs help with a mental illness?

The Benefits

Dogs are extraordinary at the task of motivating owners to get up and get out of the house more often. This may be helpful for those suffering from a mental illness. Dogs can furthermore have calming effects on their owners. Something as simple as sitting next to them, petting them or playing with them can provide their owners a chance to relax and calm their minds. Taking care of a dog can also give you motivation and it can help you feel like you’re important or needed, because we know that sometimes having a mental illness can be unhealthy for the way we think about ourselves. Dogs can be such a wonderful and positive companionship in our everyday lives, they can even encourage us to take better care of ourselves and be more conscious of our surroundings.

Imagine getting home from a busy day at work, opening your front door and the first thing you see it’s your dog wobbling their tale and just being happy because you’re home. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

They can completely change your day and make it seem more valuable. Dogs tend to be pure joy, and I can assure you, that they will make you smile no matter what. Of course, there are going to be days when you’re not going to be up for any playing, but you know, dogs can sense when you’re feeling down. They will most likely just provide you with their company, so you don’t feel so lonely.

The Responsibility of Owning a Dog

So far, we have made it clear that dogs can help with depression, and any other mental health related disorder, but please keep in mind that they’re also living creatures who need to be taken care of.

You can’t opt to have a dog and not feed, bathe or take it to the veterinarian. That’s not how owning a dog is about.

Dogs can also be very active and they may want to go outside all the time, play or they might even jump into your bed when you don’t want to. As I said, they’re wonderful companions, but we can’t forget that they also have needs that have to be cared for.

how can dogs help with depression

Owning a dog means that you must require:

• Time

• Money

• Committed

I don’t want to come on here, and tell you that owning a dog is an easy task, because it certainly isn’t. Are they a good option for keeping yourself distracted, give them love and just enjoy their company? Of course. Could you adopt a dog even if you don’t think you’ll be able to take care of it? That’s not a good idea.


Mental illness can have you in a very vulnerable situation and having a pet could trigger your mental health as well. We grow so attached to our dogs (pets in general) that when they’re no longer with us our depression may worsen.

It’s okay to grow close to them and love them as much as you can, but always think of yourself as well.

Getting attached while dealing with an illness can be crucial, as I said, so you need to be open-minded when separation comes along. Of course, it’s never easy, once they enter your home they become family.

Please keep in mind, an attachment can also be a mental illness. Especially if you grew up in an emotionless household.

Some Of The Most Reliable Dog Breeds

You’re probably wondering “okay but which are the best dog breeds for emotional support or just support in general?”

I am going to be talking about the five dog breeds that are highly recommended for mental health support.

• Chihuahua

best dog breeds for emotional support

Don’t let their size fool you. Chihuahuas love to be around people. They can follow you around everywhere and once you sit down they will do the same thing, beside or next to you. Not to mention that because they’re so small you can take them with you anywhere.

• Labrador Retriever

mental health and dogs

One of the most loyal and supportive dogs you could ever come across from. They love to have people around them and if you enjoy exercising outside, they can also be a great companionship for said activity.

• Yorkshire Terrier

dogs for emotional support

Again, another small breed, but these little ones attract all the positive energy you could ever image. Not to mention how affectioned they are.

• Dachshund

emotional supporting dogs

The energy these little ones have is unique. That and compassion would make all your days worth, getting out of your bed. They’re so dedicated, patient and emotional.

• Cocker Spaniel

best dog breeds for mental health

I can certainly give testimony on how much this breed helps you during all your emotional struggles. They’re loyal, playful, and they absolutely love to cuddle. Not to mention, they look like a teddy bear.

These are only some of the most common dog breeds that help you during your hard times, when it comes to dealing with depression. There are so many options, dogs just want love and someone to take care of. You can pick the one you like the most (unless you’re like me and would end up crying, because I want to take them all home with me).

A Benefit Or Too Much Responsibility?

Growing up I had lots of dogs, but I had a Cocker Spaniel that to this day, still breaks my heart when I think of him. I never got the chance to say goodbye, or see him one last time. I grew up way too attached to him. He helped me so much during my horrific childhood, and I’m almost certain he was one of the small reasons that kept me going.

Right now I have two dogs, and I could not tell you enough times how much I love them, and how happier and brighter they make my days.

As I said before, getting too attached to dogs can be overwhelming and can impact you in a big way. Maybe you should consider talking about it with someone you know, to see what they recommend regarding getting a dog.

depression, anxiety and dogs

Please consider adopting a dog. Not only you’re giving them a chance of finding a new and loving home, but they will actually give you the emotional stability that you may be missing.

Do you have any dogs? If so, please tell me your story in the comments section down below.

18 thoughts on “Can Dogs Help With Depression? – Mental Health Insider”

  1. I have suggested “having a dog” to a dear friend that is starting to have some light type of mental disorder. She initially refused the idea but recently she has started to embrace it. I’m glad I came across your post and I feel it’s excellent content to share with her. Thank you for this post.

  2. I want to say thank you for this article.  I forwarded it to my friend.  I have had a dog all my life. Now single and no children at home (adults) my friend is my dog.  They are great to talk to and they interact with us all the time.  More people should have a dog if they are suffering with so many things and not just mental illness.  They give us unconditional love and we all could use a little more of that.  Keep on writing as I will enjoy what you do in the future.

  3. Wow! finally someone has written about such a great thing as owning a dog to help restore and calm the mind and brain from losing it. We often underrate what we can achieve by adopting a dog that can really help us to get going in life. A dog can really work miracles even in the most tightest situations. A dog has so much personality that with time would get the owner attached to them and then end up becoming their best friends and confidant.

  4. A dog can work the miracle of helping to restore a state of mind that is exercising traits of going nuts. This is very interesting. I have a labradors retriever and I can say my experience with her has been simply awesome and beautiful. She is awesome and has turned to my source of joy. She plays with me every time and also help me to limit my thinking or brooding about things. Though it takes time and commitment to own and maintain one, but then the benefits are well worth it.

  5. Beautiful post, Steeph! Dogs brings so much joy and lift in a person’s life, especially on people who’s going through a lot in life. I lost my lovely cuddly Yorkie Princess 2 years ago after being together for 14 young joyful years. And her is name is NALA. Now, I just feel nada (lol) without her. And I don’t think I’ll have another one for a while ‘coz she’s been so much to me all those years and on. She’s got her very own place in my house too. But, I’m pretty sure I’ll have another one someday. You’re awesome as always and keep posting! JOSH

  6. Great post!
    I grew up with many dogs and they definitely made life more enjoyable.
    They were all golden retrievers and were fun to play with and just hangout with anytime of the day.
    I think that yes dogs certainly can help with depression but understanding how big of a responsibility it is to own a dog is very important.
    I like how you explain that dogs are great at helping cope with depression and mental illness but that one needs to be prepared for the responsibility of owning a dog.
    Thanks for the helpful information on dogs and their power to help with depression.

  7. Hi there Stephanie.
    I just wanted to say what a beautiful piece that you have written.
    As someone who has battled depression and the awful effects that it brings, I sympathize with anyone affected by it.
    I also know the incredible power that animals – especially dogs – can play in combating this illness.
    Thank you for shedding a light on this.
    Take care,

  8. Ivan Brozincevic

    I’ve watched a documentary movie called “Dog: Man’s First Friend,” and it blew my mind away. I highly suggest watching it, everyone! Thanks for sharing your great post on dogs and their power to heal human depression.

  9. Life just isn’t as fun or filled with the kind of love a Doggo can provide. Really loved reading through this post you have thoughtfully written. Definitely bookmarking this one to reurn to in the future. Thank you! All the best -Will

  10. Thanks for sharing. I love dogs and I grew up with them. We had a poodle who lived for 15 years and she was really a part of the family. I wish I can have my own dog but I’m aware of the responsibility. I live alone and I travel a lot so not really feasible at this stage. I have anxiety and I really feel relax with dogs around. I have a friend who’s got a spoodle so I visit her often to play with her dog. I think that would work for me at this stage. 🙂

  11. Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I loved it and also the way you describe the choice we have to make between the responsability, time, money and committment versus the joy, love, relieve and play they can add to our lives. I personally have had only cats, but I can assure that they are very loyal and sweet as well. For me it’s the better option, as I do not have to bath them or take them for a walk. They love music and are very elegant well odored company lol

  12. I really like this article because it is not compelling people to buy a dog, but leaves it up to the reader and those they talk to.  As someone who suffers with mental illness, I can also say golden retrievers are great to have around because they are so lovable.  They are a big responsibility though, and I am so glad you pointed that out, I really am.  Thank you for your honesty and your article!

  13. Hello, I have been thinking to get a puppy since last year. but I wasn’t sure about it. Some people around me told me it’s a big responsibility, taking care of them, feeding them etc. But after reading your post and convinced that it can helps with depression and mentalI issues,l came into conclusion it worth all the responsibility to get a puppy. I always wanted to have a dog since when I was a child . Honestly your post was so helpful for me and now I’m sure I want to get a one. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Please keep in mind that even if they’re a great companion, they’re still a big responsability. Though, I can guarantee you that it’s worth it. I have two, and they’re honestly my source of happiness. Good luck! 

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