Woman playing with dog.

Nearly 40% of households in the United States own at least one dog.  There is a reason for all of this puppy love: our four-legged friends just may serve as a natural antidepressant.  Dog owners, especially single adults and women, are less likely to experience feelings of depression thanks to their relationships with their canines.

Although general pet ownership has previously been proven psychologically advantageous, Krista Marie Clark Cline of the University of Missouri-Columbia wanted to determine whether dogs specifically are the source of similar benefits. While having a secure job, a happy marriage, and good relationships with family members are still considered the three most crucial factors toward a person being depression-free, a dog may also help.

Her study utilized the CES-D depression scale, a standard, to determine the subjects’ state of well being.  In addition, she asked her subjects 200 questions about their life, health, and social interactions.  Factors such as their age, race, education, and marital status were taken into account when assessing the data.

This study’s main finding is that dogs do not add to their owners depression, meaning that there is no downside to possessing a pooch.  The data also revealed that single adults and women are less likely to suffer from depression if they own a dog.  The same is not true for men and married couples because men tend to form less emotional attachments to their pets, and married individuals seek more support from their partner rather than their canine.  Evidently, it might be time to change the old saying from “A dog is a man’s best friend” to “a woman’s best friend.”

Dog ownership offers both mental and physical perks.  Socially, dogs provide unconditional affection and can increase a person’s social networking by attracting new friends who are fellow dog owners or adorers.  Because exercise, is found to improve mental health, it also makes sense that people with dogs are more likely to get this essential physical activity by regularly taking their dogs for a walk.

Get out of the doghouse by getting a dog for your house.  Consider adopting a shelter animal so that you can provide a needy dog with as much happiness as it will supply for you.