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Petting dogs found to have enormous health benefits

Words by Tess Becker

The old adage that dogs are man’s best friend rings true in many ways. Because, as recent research has found, canine companionship comes with a whole host of health benefits. These include decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD. In fact, dogs are so beneficial for us that simply petting a stranger's dog can have health benefits.

“I think it is safe to say that animals are beneficial to our mental and physical health,” said Nancy Gee, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University.

According to Gee, just spending 5 to 20 minutes with a dog increases oxytocin levels in people, essentially releasing a feel-good chemical. 

“What I love about this research is that it's a two-way street,” Gee said. “We see the same thing in the dogs, so the dogs' oxytocin also increases when they interact with a human.”

So next time you’re feeling a little low, see if a friend wants to go on a dog walk with you. It’s good for you and our furry friends. 

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

World Animal Protection. An organization defending animal rights globally. Support them here.

International Animal Rescue. This international charity supports animals everywhere with rescue missions and habitat conservation. Find out more.

Four Paws. A global charity that tackles animal cruelty, rescues animals in needs and offers them security. Get involved.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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