Going off to college can be stressful. You’re moving away from your parents for the first time, starting new classes and working on making new friends. What would you give for a little comfort and support at this time, right? Well, maybe a furry companion is just what you need to make a new locale feel a little more like home. Studies show dogs can play a big role in reducing homesickness and increasing the satisfaction of overall campus life. In fact, dogs can not only help improve happiness but actually have a significant impact on your health. This includes heart, mental, and physical health. All things that can get easily overlooked when you’re swamped with studies but play a major role in your quality of life!
It’s no secret many of us suffer from mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and loneliness in college. As this graphic by PuppySpot illustrates, dogs can help reduce these feelings and serve as emotional support in stressful situations. Combine that with the necessary exercise dogs require and you’re improving your physical health too! Dog owners are 54% more likely to exercise than other adults and with obesity being another more common issue among undergrads, a morning and afternoon walk can make a big difference.
If you feel like you’re ready to become a dog-mom or dog-dad, always remember to take into consideration the amount of responsibility you’re equipped to take on and what kind of lifestyle you can provide your fur-baby. Smaller breeds like Yorkies require little exercise and have a moderate energy level, making them a great fit for those of us in smaller apartments. Or if you’re lucky enough to have space and time for a larger dog, maybe something like a German Shepherd, one of the most intelligent and versatile breeds, would be a good match. Of course, if you’re not ready for a dog of your own, don’t rush it! You can still reap the benefits of our four-legged friends with the increasingly popular dog-therapy programs found on numerous college campuses. Check and see if your college offers any puppy therapy or get in touch with your campus officials to see if it’s something you can get started.