What having a Dog does to our brain and body



I always wondered why we humans have such a strong connection with dogs, and why we seem to have an inseparable and loving bond with them. In fact, humans treat dogs like their own family, and love and care for them.

Before I answer this, I need to go back to some of our history with our four legged furry friend 🙂 Our relationship with dogs began about 45,000 years before, according to archaeological evidence. It preceded many hundreds of thousands of years with a more casual, and perhaps distant, pragmatic relationship with wolves as well. We began relying on dogs to keep us safe, and dogs depended on us for food and shelter as well. But in fact, according to this newly found research now, we find that the bone structures in dogs begin to change and they are starting to live with us. This led to certain effects on their biology and physiology and thus, in fact dogs began our best friends.

So, when your dog looks at you the next time, don’t be surprised as it starts to wag its tail with happiness as soon as you come back home. You are the greatest little thing it is seeing with its eyes, and to be honest, dogs are way more generous and loving to us than we are to them. Hence, we are wired physiologically, and behaviorally to love our own dogs and have that connection with them. It is in fact similar to a mother looking at a picture of her own baby, and certain brain regions in our body lights us with serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin when we look at our own dogs too. Oxytocin is the love hormone in our body, and when released it has a positive effect on our body. Research has shown that when we play with our own dogs, oxytocin levels in our body tend to double. Serotonin is associated with feelings of happiness, and dopamine is associated with feelings of reward. A study has shown that stroking a dog prompted the release of both serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

So, let’s talk about what really happens to our body, when we are cuddling our dog! Your body starts releasing all the feel good chemicals and anti-stress chemicals like oxytocin, opioids, adrenalin and serotonin. Our heart health also gets better as we start to take our dogs out on walk regularly, and hence, we remain in shape. Your heart rate gets down, and your blood pressure goes down as well. Research has shown that, people with pets are more happier and live a healthier life than people who don’t have pets. So, who doesn’t want a loving and good dog to love and give us hugs and cuddles after a long day at work?

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