Scientists from the University of Virginia, USA, have found that petting dogs helps to increase immunity, reports the site of the educational institution.
The authors analyzed data from previous studies and came to the conclusion that short-term communication with dogs has a beneficial effect on the state of the human organism.
For example, the level of the stress hormone cortisol drops in humans in just 5-20 minutes in the company of a dog. The researchers also reported an increase in the level of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes good mood. This contributes to improving immunity and the health of the nervous system. What’s more, the same thing happens with pets.
Dog ownership is also associated with improved heart health, increased physical activity and better mental well-being: a pet provides companionship and a source of stability in life, and makes its owners feel loved.
The authors of the present study plan to do further studies in the future to prove their conclusions in larger samples.
Also, dogs can sense when their owners are going through a tough time and get stressed too. Swedish researchers came to this conclusion after studying 58 people who owned Border Collies or Shetland Sheepdogs.
The scientists examined hair from people and their dogs by checking levels of the hormone cortisol, which is released into the blood in response to stress and absorbed by hair follicles.
Lina Roth and her team at Linköping University found a synchrony in the cortisol levels of humans and their dogs, both in winter and summer. Specialists cannot explain the reason. They suggest that it is in the relationship that forms between a person and his best friend.
Dogs “become infected” by their owner’s stress, because he plays a big role in their lives. People can reduce their pets’ stress by playing with them more, scientists advise.
Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-white-long-sleeves-holding-dog-s-face-5961946/