It’s been a long and stressful day. You get home and slowly make your way to the front door. Upon stepping over the threshold, you’re greeted by your most favorite furry friend and their wagging tail. They jump and run circles around you can you can’t help but smile, the tension of the day released. Does this sound familiar?
One of the greatest benefits of having a dog is what it does for your mood. Aside from instances of accidents and the like, it’s been proven that dogs just make us happier humans. They’re often avid cuddlers. They offer some protection bringing comfort and ease to a household. They encourage health and fitness. And they’re an overall source of companionship and love (and who couldn’t use a little more of that in their lives?).
But none of this is anything new. If you’re a new or long-time pet parent, you’ve felt most if not all of these things: the excitement of greeting your dog after a long day, the welcomed exhaustion after spending hours playing or on a nice long walk, the pride you feel when telling others about the adventures you and your dog have been on, or even just the peace and calm you feel when watching TV or something with them close by.
The reason we feel such happiness when it comes to our dogs is the link between pets and positive psychology. Whenever any of these instances occur, your brain is flooded with “happy hormones” including dopamine, serotonin, and other endorphins. The effect is similar to ones you experience when you’re around people you love (proving dogs are part of the family!), exercising, or partaking in other activities that make you happy.
This is the reason why dogs often make perfect companions for those suffering from depression or have just lost a loved one. As people are often lacking happy hormones in these situations, something as simple as petting a passing pup can help, even if it’s just for a moment.
While mood and mindset can shift day-to-day, the one thing about being a pet parent is that your pup’s unconditional love for you will never falter. While you’re the one giving them food, toys, shelter, and anything they could possibly need, it’s you that receives the most benefits. Dogs make us happier humans and who couldn’t afford to be just a little happier?