National Puppy Day
Who doesn’t love puppies? These cute and cuddly bundles of unconditional love make even the sternest among us crack a smile. While snuggling with a puppy has been shown to reduce stress and depression, even just looking at pictures of these adorable animals has benefits (Psychology Today). There is a study from Japan showing that looking at pictures of puppies at work improves focus and productivity (Wall Street Journal). But we didn’t need a study to tell us how awesome puppies are. We already know it! In honor of National Puppy Day was on March 23rd and to help give you a little boost of stress relief during these trying times, we thought we’d share some fun facts about puppies and look at all the ways that puppies enrich our lives.
Puppies Are Born Blind and Deaf
Puppies cannot see or hear for the first week or two of their lives. According to Psychology Today, this is an evolutionary necessity. Since nature originally designed dogs to hunt for food, it is safest for the puppy to be able to hide in his den while their parents are out bringing home dinner. A puppy who can’t see or hear will naturally just stay put, whereas a seeing and hearing puppy may get curious about their environment and accidentally wander off. Their complete need of care also helps people feel the need to protect them.
All Puppies Have Floppy Ears
Puppies all have floppy ears, even breeds who will have ears that stand at attention. Until they are about six months old, puppies do not have enough cartilage to hold their ears up. The cartilage will develop with diet over time and this development will be inconsistent so that many puppies will have one floppy ear and one erect ear at first. And may breeds will never get erect ears. Again, this is due to evolution. Domesticated animals tend to have floppy ears because they no longer need the protection of permanently erect ears, and floppy ears make them appear safer to humans which protects floppy-eared dogs and makes them more desirable companions (npr.org).
Puppies Are Natural Born Chewers
As their teeth come in, puppies will naturally chew on anything and everything they can reach to help those teeth grow into the strong and fierce chompers of a grown-up dog. They will even chew on you if you let them. So be sure to keep appropriate chew toys around the house to avoid losing shoes, furniture legs, and other chewable things to your puppy’s developing teeth. And remember that puppies can start training as young as eight weeks, so start working with your puppy on boundaries as soon as you can. Training will keep your puppy from getting anxious about not knowing the rules, keep them mentally engaged, and help to increase your bond with each other.
Puppies Keep Us Mentally Healthy
According to Psychology Today, numerous studies have shown that living with a puppy or dog improves mood by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Cuddling a puppy causes our brains to release the chemical oxytocin, which makes us feel calm and experience love and trust, while reducing the amount of cortisol our bodies release. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is also related to inflammation in our bodies. So, cuddling and petting a puppy isn’t just fun, it’s mentally healthy. Additionally, puppies give us perspective; they help us to live in the moment, give us someone to care for, make us more optimistic, and provide us with unconditional love. They are also really cute.
Puppies Keep Us Physically Healthy
Puppies basically have two settings: on and off. They require lots of exercise and lots of rest. Living with a puppy will definitely keep you on your toes, playing and taking many walks each day. It will also help you get all the rest you need if you follow the same advice often given to new parents to sleep when the puppy sleeps.
Puppies Help Keep Us Social
Particularly during these times of social distancing, living with a puppy helps to alleviate loneliness and isolation. Puppies are wonderful companions, providing a listening ear whenever we want to talk and just being close when we don’t. And all those walks get you out of the house when you can’t go anywhere.
Obviously, we think that puppies are the best creation as they provide us with so much to enrich our lives. If you are lucky enough to live with a puppy, then you know what we mean. If, however, you don’t or can’t live with a puppy, just looking at pictures of puppies still provides many of the mental health benefits of living with one. So, if you are stuck inside and find yourself in need of something to do other than worry in these days of social distancing, just search for pictures of puppies and let the utter cuteness melt your worries away.
Happy National Puppy Day!