How Dogs Contribute to Our Health and Happiness

There’s a science behind why being with your dog brings so much joy. Here’s how and why your pup makes life so much better.

Most pet parents already know the joy and positivity their dogs bring to their lives. But do you know the science behind why this is so? Your dog brings a smile to your face, encourages you to be more in the moment, and makes you feel loved. Here’s precisely how he does it.

Dogs Improve Your Mood

Research shows that having an optimistic or pessimistic attitude is mostly under our control. Choosing to share your life with a dog can help you maintain a more positive perspective on life while lessening the symptoms of depression and anxiety. "The human-animal bond bypasses the intellect and goes straight to the heart,” says author and animal expert Karen Winegar, nurturing us, she claims, in ways that nothing else can. We couldn’t agree more.

Dogs Promote A Feeling Of Being Loved

When you spend time with your dog, especially petting and cuddling him, your oxytocin levels increase. A neurotransmitter often referred to as the "love hormone," oxytocin calms your nervous system, relaxes you, and increases your trust levels.

Pets Help Lower Stress

Petting your pooch not only ups your oxytocin level but also lowers your level of cortisol, aka the “stress hormone.” Multiple studies show that stress-wise, everyone from students to employees benefits from having their pet with them. It’s even thought that in times of extreme stress, a dog can be more beneficial than another person in helping you recover from stressful challenges.

Dogs Encourage Social Interaction

People who are shy, introverted, or simply not confident in social situations gain two important benefits from sharing life with a dog. First, they feel less lonely. Secondly, a dog can make them feel more comfortable connecting with people, particularly other pet parents. Conversations are easier to start with fellow dog lovers, and these simple interactions go a long way in helping up a person’s confidence quotient.

Dogs Support A Healthy And Fit Lifestyle

Studies have long shown that a dog can reduce your risk of premature death by up to a third. Simple lifestyle adjustments that come with being a pet parent, such as taking your dog for a walk and playing with him in the backyard, keep you active throughout the day. These activities can boost your physical health and improve your mood, both essential to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are associated with the risk of heart-related illnesses.

Your canine companion delights in being your company. That he also gives you instant “feel-good vibes” that help improve the quality of your life is a bonus to be appreciated every day. Give your pooch an extra cuddle today and let him know how grateful you are he’s in your life. He—and you—will feel the better for it!