Dogs are more than just cute fury animals that keep us entertained. They also keep us feeling loved, and psychological studies corroborate those claims.
SAN ANTONIO — Have you ever noticed how your mood spikes after petting a dog or holding a puppy? Well, there’s a reason for that.
Researchers say the reason is because of the love hormone, oxytocin. When we interact with our fury friends, the levels of that hormone shoot up — which boosts our psychological well-being, Medical News Today explains.
On a psychological perspective, having a dog can make you more optimistic and more resilient to stress. If you’re lonely especially during the time of the pandemic, having a dog can add the companionship that can make you less alone.
At the same time, Psychology Today explains, dogs can help those who have a little bit of social apprehension. Think about it — people will think your dog is so cute and want to pet it, or if your dog greets another dog and gets into a pet conversation with it, you’ll be bound to make some type of small talk with its owner. That small interaction can actually increase your confidence, the website says.
Dogs also keep you healthy and fit. There’s no sleeping in and being a couch potato when you have a dog that has to go out at least twice a day and be taken on walks. Exercising is already good for your body but an added bonus is that it’s good for your mental health.
If you don’t have time to take your dog for a walk or the weather conditions aren’t favorable, one former personal trainer created a workout program for dogs where you can utilize what you already have to burn some pup calories.
Related story: Certified former personal trainer switches gears, creates workouts for dogs
There are also several dogs that could use forever homes. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says there are over six million animals in shelters nationwide, though that number is on the decline. According to the ASPCA, the biggest decline in shelter animals were dogs, down from 800,000 in the last 11 years.
Almost one million animals are euthanized each year. So, if you are looking for that perfect fury addition, you might check the animal shelter first. Your best friend could be waiting for you with their tail wagging — and it could increase your wellness.