5 Surprising Benefits of Petting Your Dog (Confirmed by Research)

Sure, us dogs love being petted by our hoomans (nothing beats a good belly rub!), but our obsession with petting isn’t all about us. In fact, when it comes right down to it, petting dogs has even more benefits for hoomans than it does for their dogs. Research shows that petting dogs can improve your mood and even your health. Here are five ways that loving on your dog can be good for you.

1. We make you happier ­– literally.

When you’re petting a dog, your body releases two feel-good chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, that can help improve your mood. Hoomans suffering from depression are often low in these chemicals, and many anti-depressants actually work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Because of this, petting a dog can help hoomans feel happier – even those struggling with depression. It’s just another reason we’re the best!

dog girl

2. You really can bond with us.

We know you already consider us your babies, but did you know that petting dogs actually helps you bond with your dog on a chemical level? The action of petting a dog releases oxytocin – the very same hormone that helps a mother bond with her child!

dog boy

3. We’re the best natural stress relievers.

Hoomans seem to have a lot of stress in their lives, and us dogs spend our time trying to take it away. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol into the bloodstream, and it can have all kinds of negative impacts on a hooman’s body. But petting dogs lowers the level of cortisol in your bloodstream. That’s why therapy dogs have been allowed into classrooms, hospitals and airports to help people with their stress levels. Lucky dogs!

dog stress reliever

4. We lower your blood pressure.

Not only can petting dogs lower cortisol levels, it can also reduce your blood pressure (and the chances of dying from a heart attack.) Woof!

dog lower blood pressure

5. We provide needed touch.

Hoomans need touch in their lives. In fact, friendly touch from other hoomans has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and release serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. If that sounds familiar, it’s because those are all the same things that petting dogs can accomplish … and we’re more than happy to be your stand-in when needed.

dog needed touch

It’s no secret that dogs love being loved on. Belly rubs and snuggles are the best! But while our tails are wagging and our eyes are begging you for just a few more minutes of head scratches, remember that it’s not all about us. There are plenty of benefits for our hoomans, too!