The new study now revealed that cuddling with these furry friends has similar effects to our brain as drugs. On the opposite of drugs as we know them, cuddling with a dog has only positive effects. It does not only release the happiness hormones serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin which also reduce the blood pressure and stress level.
Contact with dogs therefore makes our mood better. Are you asking how it works then? A human brain works with one of our senses – touch – in a way that surfaces we touch (or that touch us) are divided into pleasant, neutral and unpleasant. The part of the brain called anterior cingular cortex is responsible for our emotions and then these inputs are interpreted according to their pleasantness. Caressing a dog and cuddling with it then releases serotonin and dopamine which improve the mood and reduce the stress level.
People are sociable creatures and need regular touch that we often neglect with each other or we do not have enough opportunities for it. Our dog companions might help us with that. They will always remind us they need contact and moreover, who could resist their fur, right?
Besides releasing happiness hormones, dogs help us in other ways to live a better life. Thanks to this, we have healthier lifestyles – we have enough physical activity, spend more time outside and get more vitamin D from the sunlight. Sleeping in bed with a dog might also help us to sleep more calmly and it is a great and natural opportunity for bonding.
Do you also belong to those people who can’t resist and cuddle a dog if they have an opportunity? Do you also enjoy evenings on a sofa with your dog with its head on your lap? Do you see any differences in yourself when you compare the time before you got a dog and after? Are you happier and more satisfied now? I, myself, feel calmer.