Can dogs help humans live healthier lives?

Woman seated at a table feeds a sweet potato jerky slice to her dog

Those that love dogs already know how much joy they can bring - there’s no better greeting than seeing your dog after a long trip or a hard day at work. That wave of happiness you feel when you give your dog a belly rub or enjoy a sunny stroll impacts our brain chemistry, which can have a positive effect on our mood and well-being. 

Oxytocin is a hormone associated with feelings of love, trust, and bonding. When we interact with a dog, our brain releases oxytocin, which can help to improve our mood and reduce stress. Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. Spending time with a dog can help to reduce the levels of cortisol in our body, which can have a calming effect and help us to relax.

  • Increase in dopamine: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in the regulation of pleasure and reward. Interacting with a dog can increase the release of dopamine in our brain, which can improve our mood and make us feel happy.
  • Improvement in mood and well-being: Overall, the effects of dogs on our brain chemistry can lead to an improvement in mood and well-being. Dogs can provide us with a sense of connection, companionship, and purpose, which can have a positive impact on our mental health and happiness.

Overall, when we are with a dog, our brain chemistry changes in ways that can have a positive effect on our mood and well-being. These changes can help us to feel happier.

  • Physical activity: Dogs require regular exercise and play, which can encourage their human companions to be more physically active and engaged. This can help to improve physical health, increase energy levels, and reduce stress.
  • Social interaction: Dogs are social animals, and they can provide their owners with companionship and a sense of belonging. This can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation and can provide opportunities for social interaction with other dog owners.
  • Emotional support: Dogs have been shown to have a calming effect on their owners, and spending time with a dog can help to reduce stress and anxiety. They can sense when their human is feeling sad or anxious, and they will often respond with affection and attention. This can help to reduce stress and promote feelings of well-being.
  • Mental health: Owning a dog has been associated with a variety of mental health benefits, including reduced depression and anxiety, and increased feelings of happiness and life satisfaction.
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