Power Of Pets
Dog people have known for years how much our furry friends increase our quality of life. Now, science is finally catching up with a slew of new studies showing how pups prevent stress and improve our mental and physical health.
Owning a dog has shown to increase exercise and improve overall physical health, and pup owners typically have lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. Interacting with dogs can also trigger dopamine release, reduce loneliness, and boost mood.
Studies show that service dogs can improve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, and that therapy dogs can reduce stress in students and improve children’s social skills.
The importance of these scientific studies, especially regarding the evolving role of pets in the mental health sphere, can help highlight that dogs can have an established function in treatment and prevention.
Expanding the understanding of the relationship between humans and pets in society can help in the search for compassionate and accommodating services, businesses, housing, healthcare, and work environments. While it is illegal in many states to deny access to service animals and their pet-owners, regardless of whether the pet provides emotional or physical support, those who rely on service animals for essential tasks continue to struggle and face complications when accessing basic needs.
Take the housing rental market for example. While Minnesota makes it illegal to deny housing or charge additional fees for service or emotional support dogs, this is not the case in all 50 states. Pet owners and people with support animals are charged increasingly exorbitant fees or ‘pet rent’, or even denied access to certain housing altogether. While society continues to recover from the pandemic and reorganize workplace and social structures, continuing to understand the truly vital role of animal-human relationships and their benefit to accessibility, mental health, and overall quality of life is essential in moving towards a more accommodating and equitable environment for everyone.
While strides are being made, realistically, such a universally pet-friendly society will not develop overnight.
Meanwhile, Downtown Dogs continues to be a dog utopia, with our reasonably priced doggy daycare (maximum of $5 per hour!) and boarding, and our openness to dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages. Our goal is to make dog ownership and its many benefits easy, flexible, and accessible to everyone.
The advice provided is based on many years of experience as dog parents and operators of one of the largest and longest established dog daycare and boarding facilities in the Twin Cities. Always consult your veterinarian. When not sharing advice, our dog bloggers — Frannie, Lyle, and Helen — share a space with their people, Downtown Dogs owner Ralph Bernstein and his wife, Abbe.