Petting and cuddling a dog is one of the best ways to relax before the start of a stressful week or after a tiring day at work. Someone rightly said, “Dogs are humans’ best friends,” and indeed, they are. Their unique ways of helping you manage your stress are not just effective but also long-term.
A study done on 249 students by letting them pet and play with a dog for 10 minutes showed that those students who interacted with the dog had lowered cortisol levels or stress hormones in their saliva.
What hormones are released when petting a dog?
While cortisol is one of the most well-known hormones that people talk about, many other “feel-good” hormones are released when petting a dog. Some of them include serotonin, oxytocin, and prolactin. These hormones can help lower your blood pressure, as well.
Since dogs are so therapeutic, pet therapy is turning into a frequent practice. Dogs like golden retrievers, spaniels, and Labradors are taken to universities and hospitals to make people happier and reduce stress levels.
Other Health Benefits of Dog Ownership
Dog ownership comes with many other responsibilities. When you welcome a dog into your life, you bring with it many obligations that lead to lifestyle changes on your part.
As a dog owner, you have to take daily walks, which does a great job of elevating your physical and mental health. You do not just lose weight and lower your blood pressure, but you can stay fit for a long time.
Pets are a great addition to lonely people as well. Having a friendly companion can bring in excitement into your life like no other. It is also true for children. They tend to get more excited to talk and are more comfortable sharing their thoughts with a furry animal than their parents.
The benefits of having a dog are not limited there. Dog ownership can help you be social. You can meet new people and other fellow dog owners as well.
Having a pet can also help lower cholesterol levels of a person and reduce the chances of heart problems too.
Petting Dogs Safely
Dogs can be vulnerable during different stages of life. A reactive dog, in particular, can feel threatened, growl, or get angry. While petting may be a relaxing activity for you, dogs may not find it, so ultimately making them mad enough to attack you. Dealing with reactive dogs can take a toll, especially if you get many visitors or have little children who don’t understand the boundaries. It’s best to start working with dog reactivity right away with the help of a well-designed online reactive dog training program. By enrolling in such courses, you can help your dog handle daily stressors effectively and not go berserk around strangers, other dogs, or moving vehicles.
Although dog owners are highly aware of their dogs’ nature, there are still moments when they can get surprised by their dog’s activity.
With some essential tips and guide, one can pet a dog with safety:
- Move slowly and act calm when near a pet.
- Let the dog sniff your hand so that it gets familiar to your smell. Following this, you can stroke and pet him.
- Don’t disturb a dog when sleeping, eating, or when he’s sick.
- Make sure to take care of the mother when she has her puppies and give her enough facilities to feel calm and loved.
Petting a dog is always so much fun and now that you’ve learnt the scientific reasoning behind all your ‘feel good’ hormones coming to play, go ahead and pet your furry friend some more!