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Do you ever feel like you are the only person on Earth who keeps having random thoughts at 2:00 am? If yes, that is certainly not true because, in the United States, anxiety disorder is considered as the most common type of mental health illness. In spite of that, less than half of the number of people who have anxiety seek treatment. But whether a medical professional prescribes medication or not, there are surprisingly other ways that can help minimize symptoms of anxiety. One way is by having the best dog breeds to fight stress and anxiety
Yes, you read that right. Dogs can easily calm nerves when you are stressed and uplift your spirit with their unconditional love, affection, and security. While you can have quality time with any dog breed, there are dog breeds that help you with anxiety more than others. Certain breeds are naturally equipped to help their owners deal with mental health problems.
Understanding Why Dogs Have Mind Boosting Power
Before identifying the best dog breeds that help you with anxiety, you should have a clear understanding of why dog breeds possess this ability from the start. To sum it up in one word, hormones. It is stated in one of the studies published in the Frontier’s of Psychology that the oxytocin system can be activated with human-animal interaction. Oxytocin is a peptide hormone that is responsible for regulating the bonding process. It is the reason why the look from your dog gives you an unexplainable feeling.
It is not only you whose oxytocin rises during this process, but your dog’s oxytocin also rises whenever you are being affectionate with him.
Other Reasons Why Dogs Help You With Anxiety:
Hormones are not the only reason why there are certain dog breeds that help you with anxiety. They help you in plenty of ways too:
- The Wonders of Physical Contact – A simple touch goes a long way. Physical touch is proven to fight stress and anxiety, but not only humans benefit from this, but other animals as well. Certain dog breeds are effective with this as they opt to remain affectionate towards their owners.
- Unconditional Love – Dogs are the most loyal creature on Earth. They will never leave you and they will protect you. They will comfort you in any way they know when you are feeling down. Unlike humans, dogs will not judge you. You are free and you can be who you want when you are with your dog.
- Sense of Protection and Security – A dog’s instinct is to provide security to their owners. With their sense of security, owners feel at ease.
Characteristics to Look for in Dog Breeds that Can Help with Anxiety
Apparently, the ability of dogs to help improve your emotional and mental state depends on their breed. Some dog breeds are effective than other breeds.
Dogs that are active, like to run around the house, bark frequently, and hyper needy might trigger your anxiety. You want a quiet environment to help you relax. Therefore, you need to familiarize yourself with dog traits that will help you in combatting anxiety.
Dog breeds that are best for people with anxiety have the following characteristics:
- Not too smart
The last trait is included because smart dogs that are too intelligent are sometimes difficult to handle and will just give you a headache. A dog does not have to be smart to cling on to you and follow you all around.
Dod breeds having the traits listed above can be of great help to people suffering from mild anxiety. But in cases of severe anxiety, certain dog breeds must be trained as these qualities are not enough.
Does the Size of the Dog Matter?
The size of your dog can be crucial in fighting your anxiety. It can either help you or worsen your condition. You will probably ask yourself, “what size of the dog should I get?” It just depends on your likes, needs, and lifestyle.
Some people find cuddling a big dog relaxing because it warms up a huge part of their body. On the other hand, some people prefer small and cute dogs because it cheers them up and they find joy in carrying them anywhere they go.
Apparently, no option is better than the other. You just have to know yourself more and Pick the best size of the dog you want.
5 Large Dog Breeds
1. Labrador retrievers- this breed is one of the most popular choices for therapy dogs. They are intelligent and easy to train, sweet, and affectionate toward their owners and to people they don’t know in hospitals or nursing homes.
A lot of dogs are not as loving as labrador retrievers. They are naturally adorable with kids, the elderly, a person with a disability, and even strangers. This personality makes them a very famous breed that will make you calm despite their big size.
2. Golden Retrievers – this breed is similar to labrador retrievers in many aspects, and they are very effective in making you smile and calming your nerves. According to the UKC, they are compliant, calm, and adaptive which makes them the ideal dog for someone with anxiety.
It is impossible to feel anxious when you see those precious smiles and a pair of eyes looking at you. With anxiety or not, they are an all-around choice to anyone.
3. German Shepperd – if you are worried about someone breaking into your house or personal security, this breed will give you peace of mind. They are intelligent and easy to train. In addition to that, they are also loving and go along with kids although their appearance says otherwise.
4. The Great Pyrenees – They are known as affectionate and calm dogs that will reduce your anxiety. They are big dogs so your place should be spacious enough for them.
5. Poodle – a standard size poodle is full of substance underneath those tidy coats. They make perfect companions for people who need a break from all the worries and stress.
Poodles, regardless of size, are smart and easy to train as well. Compared to the previously mentioned large dog breeds, they are not that prone to shedding and have a hypoallergenic coat.
5 Small Dog Breeds
1.Maltese – Lapdogs like the Maltese love physical touch. This small breed is known as calm, friendly, and adorable, making it one of the best picks for someone who is looking for a small-sized and caring companion to help spread positive vibes. Let him cuddle up with you on the bed and feel the anxiety slowly melt away.
2. Pembroke Welsh Corgi – Corgis are the desired breed of the British crown and it’s not hard to see why Queen Elizabeth II is so in love with a corgi. They’re caring, intelligent, and make good chums with their irresistible personalities. A corgi knows if you are down and need a cuddle and they are perfectly willing to give you space when you need it. They may look so tiny and precious, but they are very good at guarding the family members and giving you peace of mind.
Corgis are rather smart and easy to train, but they are active little dogs, so they aren’t perfect for homebodies who stay in cramped apartments.
3. Saint Bernard – Also known as the “gentle giant”. You can look it up in the dictionary and you will definitely see a photo of the adorable huge Saint Bernard. This breed has a lovable and high-spirited temperament that can help put a worried mind at peace. These dogs were originally used to take care of kids, so they’ve developed good composure for anyone.
4. Pug – Nothing is more important to this creature than to love and be loved. This sweet and sometimes disobedient breed will become a cherished family member. They grow and develop in small city apartments. The smiling face of a pug can aid in uplifting your mood and alleviating anxiety immediately.
5.Pomeranian – They are perfect for people who very affectionate and prefer for their dogs to stay by their side 24 hours a day. Most Pomeranians will eagerly stay with you anywhere you go. For all that, it would be best for you to have a carrying bag as they have small legs.
Just make sure you mingle your Pomeranian more often since they’re sometimes doubtful of people they don’t know and kids can make them a bit anxious.
Bear in mind that any breed is possible. Whether you come across an adorable small pooch or a large one, having a dog can be a great way to feel more at ease and less anxious. Make sure that you end up with the perfect dog for you, and that you fully understand what you’re taking with you. Having a dog is a commitment and it can be the best decision of your life as long as you are ready and willing to embrace all the responsibilities.
In this video courtesy of SciShow Psych, why the effectiveness of pet therapy has a lot more to do with us than our furry pals were discussed.