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Pets are good for you

cute puppy picture

 

Did you know that your brain releases oxytocin, “the feel-good” hormone in the brain when you pet your dog or cat?

What is Oxytocin?
“Oxytocin is a powerful hormone. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. In fact, the hormone plays a huge role in pair bonding.”

This wonderful feeling can come from dogs, cats, and even goldfish! A study showed that having a fish tank at a nursing home improved appetites.

“Watch a Lassie movie and spit into a cup. It doesn’t sound like it, but this is cutting-edge research. By analyzing saliva, researcher Cheryl Krause-Parello showed that merely watching a dog in a movie lowered people’s stress. Krause-Parello, assistant professor and director of the Center for Nursing Research at Kean University in Union, N.J., learned that people felt better after watching a Lassie flick because their levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, took a free fall.”

Do you have a pet? Have you had these great experiences with them?

Full article at Psychology Today

Find more great articles about pets or psychology on Alltop.

Photo credit RKleine

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4 Comments

  • Yes, I don’t have a pet but am lucky enough to live opposite a promenade where pet owners walk regularly.Just seeing them makes me just as happy!

  • Your ideas have really gone to the dogs. I am so glad. I am even writing a blog post about it.

  • Sarah

    I think a more accurate headline would be: “Pets CAN BE good for you”.

    Because, yeah, they CAN. However, they can also be bad for you and cause significant stress. IE: Try living with a dog that barks and disrupts your sleep every night, or angers your neighbors. Or bites someone and they sue you. Or has a debilitating condition requiring expensive care beyond your means. Not situations that lower stress or give one the warm fuzzy “wonderful feelings” mentioned, above.

    Having PETS (being a pet owner) is significantly different from watching the picture of a dog gallop accross a TV screen – like the Lassie example, above.

  • Re the nursing home study you mentioned: I took my mother’s dachshund to see her in the nursing home when she became too debilitated with Alzheimer’s to stay at home. Heidi soon became the pet of the entire ward. She even elicited smiles from patients who wouldn’t even smile at other humans!

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