Blue Cross pet charity is offering tips to anxious teenagers awaiting their GCSE results.
Studies have shown that dogs can help lower stress levels, help people to cope with pressured situations and reduce feelings of anxiety and feelings of negativity.
In the run up to GCSE results day on 23 August, Blue Cross is encouraging teenagers to take their mind off the stress of results day by going out for a walk with their four-legged friend, meeting up with friends or relatives who have a dog or just visiting their local dog park.
A study by Beetz in 2012 found that stroking a dog before a stressful task has a calming influence and reduces stress levels and concluded that every young person could benefit from socialising with a friendly dog during stressful times.
Other studies (Polheber and Matchock 2013) have also shown that a dog, whether your own or another person’s, could be more beneficial than a close friend in reducing stress and that just the animal’s presence is enough to have an effect.
The benefits are said to go far beyond just reducing stress, there are also health benefits to just getting outside in the fresh air and taking a walk and boosting yours and the dog’s wellbeing.
Kerry Taylor, Blue Cross Education Officer, said: “Pets can help us and our wellbeing in so many ways as much as we can help them and theirs. If you’re feeling anxious about your results, then taking a nice long walk with your dog or with a friend and their pet will help you to switch off and take your mind off results day.
“And if you’re a dog owner you know they will be there for you no matter what result you go on Thursday. You’ll always be a grade A* to them.”