Benefits of Owning a Dog or Cat– For You and Your Furry Friend

The benefits of owning a dog are great, but not just for the human. The relationship between a pet and its owner proves to be a great source of the hormone oxytocin, the same one linked to feelings of love.

New Years Resolution? Pet Your Dog More

What is your New Year’s Resolution? Do people even make them anymore? What if your pet could make a resolution for you, what would it be? They would probably ask you to resolve to do one simple thing– to spend more time with them. The benefits of owning a dog or cat are many, and they run both ways. Your friends at Kennett Square’s Longwood Veterinary Center are here to tell you how.

Dogs aren’t called man’s best friend for nothing. Everyone has been there, sitting on your couch, eyes to your phone, scrolling through Instagram or your Facebook news feed only to look up to see a different set of eyes focused on you. Kind eyes wondering, “What is so interesting about that little box you hold? Why do you spend so much time looking at it for answers rather than spending time with me?” Recognizing this is a blog from a veterinary hospital, you must realize those imploring eyes belong to your pet.

Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

Are there any benefits to spending time with pets? Believe it or not, much research is available answering just that question and the benefits are huge. In fact, those rewards are so well documented, the CDC has information for pet owners on their website: Their article reveals that pet ownership can help improve your physical health by lowering not only blood pressure but cholesterol, and triglyceride levels as well. Pets have been shown to decrease feelings of depression in their human caretakers and increase opportunities for socialization among people. They also help us interact with nature and engage in physical activity. Who doesn’t enjoy walking their dog to the park or watching a sunset unfold from your front porch with your favorite cat purring quietly in your lap? These activities are universally comforting.

Oxytocin Release

The pendulum swings both ways. Aside from providing shelter, food, and stability, we give dogs a biochemical boost as well. When a dog gazes into the eyes of a human they know well (something dogs have uniquely evolved to do- even wolves raised around humans since birth will not hold a human’s gaze in the same way) they experience a boost of the hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is an extremely important hormone that plays a huge role in producing the bond between mother and child, and is increased in couple’s sharing romantic feelings. Oxytocin is responsible for many complex processes in the body but is best known for its role in producing that feeling we all know as “love.” Consider the ramifications; interacting with “their human” will cause a dog’s brain to produce the hormone responsible for mothers bonding with their babies and couples becoming romantically linked! I realize some may challenge this statement, but could this mean our dogs are capable of feeling love for us? We all hope the answer is yes. Most of us adore our dogs, and consider them family. It should come as no surprise that interacting with a beloved dog causes a similar release of oxytocin in humans, especially women.

At Longwood Veterinary Center we believe that practicing sound, evidence-based medicine is key to providing the best care for your pets. It makes sense to use the same philosophy when choosing our New Year’s Resolution for 2020– to spend quality time with the pets we love. The benefits will be mutual. Funny how science sometimes proves what we already know to be true, right? “Life is good, but pets make it better.”

Interested in learning more? Please follow the links below for excellent articles explaining the human animal bond: