Animal lovers have been saying it for years and years, “animals make me so happy.” It turns out a new study by Dognition collected over the past few years has proven this to be exactly right. Dogs can alter your biochemistry for the better.
Our bodies produce Oxytocin naturally, it is known as the “hug hormone.” Oxytocin is responsible for making you feel good, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing stress.
Researchers collected this data, observing individuals in a room with a dog. The study found that individuals who kissed their dogs more often had higher levels of oxytocin, and dogs who gazed at their owners longer had higher levels of oxytocin as well.
The researchers also had individuals spend 30 minutes with their dogs alone, they drew blood first, waited 30 minutes while participants focused their complete attention on the dogs, then drew blood again after the 30 minutes.
“The researchers found that participants' blood pressure decreased, and they experienced an increase in not only oxytocin, but also a whole other range of hormones, including beta-endorphins, which are associated with euphoria and pain relief; prolactin, which promotes bonding associated with parenting behavior; phenylethylamine, which tends to increase when people find a romantic partner; and dopamine, which increases pleasurable sensations.”
The surprising side of the study came when the researchers discovered not only did people’s levels of these hormones increase, but the dogs did as well, forming a mutual benefit for all those involved.
If you’re looking for a mood booster, keep on kissing your dogs and looking into their loving eyes. If this is not an option for you, because you don’t have a dog, consider adopting a dog at a shelter today. It will benefit both of your moods.