The Mood-Boosting Mental Health Benefits of Dogs

by John Fletcher on August 28, 2023
a dog and his owner both in a good mood working at home office

Pets are more than just cute, cuddly critters that we enjoy spending time with. They can also have a positive impact on our mental health and well-being in many ways. In this article, we will explore some of the benefits of having a pet, as well as some tips on how to choose the right pet for you.


How can a pet help your mental health?

custom pet portrait best gift for pet owners

According to Psych Central1, pets can help our mental health by:

  • Making us feel loved. Pets can increase our dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin levels, which are hormones that make us feel good or happy. Oxytocin, for example, is often called the “love” hormone because it fosters the development of bonds with others, including our babies. And researchers have found that when dogs and people look at each other or interact with each other, they both get a surge in oxytocin.
  • Making us feel less lonely. Pets are our companions — they can make us feel loved and accepted, no matter what. “No matter where you are in life, pets are excited to love you and be loved in return,” explains Dr. Larena Davis, counselor and clinical director for The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper. “They don’t care how much money you have, where you live, or what you do. They just love you.” Pets can also provide a sense of security and someone to share the day with. Caring for them can help you feel wanted and needed. This can be especially valuable for older people or those who live alone.
  • Reducing anxiety. The companionship of a pet can help to ease your anxiety. Pets can be great listeners, offer unconditional love and won’t criticise you. This can help your self-confidence, especially if you feel isolated or misunderstood. Pets can also provide a sense of calm and reassurance if you feel overwhelmed or stressed.
  • Boosting physical activity. Dog owners are likely to take their pets for a walk or run every day. This can be a fun way to fit exercise into your routine, which can improve your physical and mental health. Exercise can help reduce stress, improve mood, lower blood pressure, and prevent obesity and diabetes.
  • Helping you meet new people. Dog owners often stop and chat with each other on walks. But other pets can be a way to meet people too: in pet shops, training classes or online groups, for example. Having a pet can help you expand your social network and make new friends who share your interests.
  • Adding structure to your day. Feeding, exercising and caring for a pet can help you keep to a daily routine, which can help you feel more grounded and focused. It can give your day purpose and a sense of achievement.

Pets may also help with specific conditions, such as ADHD or autism. For example, people with ADHD may benefit from the structure and routine that a pet needs. Managing their pet’s responsibilities and keeping track of time – to feed or walk them on time, for example – may help them in other areas of their lives. Some people with ADHD are hyperactive – especially children – and playing with a pet can be a great way to release excess energy.

Autistic people can benefit from having a pet too. Pets provide the kind of unconditional relationship that can help someone build social skills and confidence. They can provide a sense of calm and reassurance if their owner feels overwhelmed or overstimulated by sensory input. Autistic children with sensory issues can involve their pets in sensory integration activities to help them get used to how something feels against their skin or how it smells or sounds.


Is having a pet right for me?

Having a pet is a serious commitment and not something to do on a whim. You’ll need to have the time, money and energy for a pet, as well as a calm home environment with routine and consistency.

Fostering a pet or helping a friend with theirs can help you see whether having your own is right for you.

When you’re ready to think about getting a pet, consider:


You should also think about what kind of pet would suit your lifestyle and personality best.

Some factors to consider are:


  • The size of the pet
  • The lifespan of the pet
  • The temperament of the pet
  • The grooming needs of the pet
  • The training needs of the pet
  • The compatibility of the pet with other pets or children

You can do some research online or visit a local shelter or rescue group to find out more about different types of pets and their needs. You can also talk to other pet owners or experts to get their advice and opinions.


Strengthen the bond between you and your pet with custom pet portrait

custom pet portrait paintings on canvas by rarepuppy

If you love your pet and want to have a beautiful and unique portrait of them, you might be interested in getting a custom pet portrait from

RAREPUPPY is a brand where you can order a custom pet portrait from a talented and professional artist. You can choose from different styles, such as renaissance pet portraits, minimalist modern pet portrait, vintage silhouette pet portraits, or custom pet magazine covers. You can also choose the size, background, and frame of your portrait.

All you need to do is upload a photo of your pet, select your preferences, and place your order. You will receive a digital proof of your portrait for approval before it is printed and shipped to you. You can also request revisions if you are not satisfied with the result.

A custom pet portrait from RAREPUPPY is a great way to celebrate your bond with your pet and show them how much you appreciate them. It is also a perfect gift for any pet lover in your life.

You can visit today and get started on creating your own custom pet portrait or custom dog magazine cover. You will be amazed by the quality and creativity of the artwork.


custom dog portraits on canvas from photo by rarepuppy brand


Pets are amazing creatures that can enrich our lives in many ways. They can help us improve our mental health and well-being by providing us with love, companionship, comfort, and fun. They can also help us cope with specific challenges, such as ADHD or autism.

However, having a pet is not for everyone. It requires a lot of responsibility, commitment, and care. You should carefully consider your lifestyle, budget, and preferences before getting a pet. You should also do some research on different types of pets and their needs.

If you already have a pet or are planning to get one, you might want to treat yourself or someone else to a custom pet portrait from It is a wonderful way to capture the personality and beauty of your pet and display it in your home or office.

Pets are more than just animals. They are our friends, family, and therapists. They deserve our respect, gratitude, and love.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something new about pets and mental health. Thank you for your time and attention.