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How Dogs Can Reduce Stress Levels

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

Life can feel more uncertain than ever, and with the ever-changing and increasingly chaotic state of the world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. Fortunately, dogs can help! If you love dogs as much as we do at The Urban Dog Group, then you know that spending time with our four-legged friends can:

• Reduce your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone

• Increase your levels of oxytocin, the love hormone

• Intensify the beta-endorphins, a natural painkiller, in your body

• Increase your levels of dopamine, the reward hormone.

It’s easy to see why dogs improve their owners’ lives in notable ways including reduced stress levels, higher likelihood to exercise, and better overall health — not to mention serving as a great source of company and unconditional love.

Recent Study Shows Similar Stress Levels for Owners and Dogs

Taking the association between dog ownership and stress levels a step further, a recent study reveals that dogs are so connected to their owners that they share similar stress levels. For the study, researchers surveyed the owners of 58 sheepdogs and border collies, asking them about their own personality traits as well as those of their pets. To determine stress levels, researchers asked for human and canine hair samples and analyzed the amount of cortisol in both.

For the dogs, activity levels and personality traits did not affect their stress levels. However, the stress levels of their owners had a notable impact on the animals. If the owner had higher levels of cortisol, so did their dog, and vice versa. Interestingly, people with more neurotic tendencies had dogs with lower cortisol levels. Researchers believe that result indicates that humans who depend on their dogs for social and emotional support could be serving the same purpose for their pets.

To further explore these findings, researchers hope to look at more breeds of dogs and perhaps even cats.

Social Media’s Role in Reduced Stress Levels

As social distancing mandates remain in place, we’re connecting more and more on social media. It’s hard not to see a funny pet picture or video every time you sign on to Facebook or Instagram. When Wendy Berenguer filmed her beagle Bailey dancing to a reggaeton song and posted it to her Facebook page, the video went viral, racking up over 526,000 views and 1.5 million shares. With over 329,000 comments, viewers clearly loved the video as much as we did.

While fun pet videos are enjoyable to watch, they have positive health benefits, too. When it comes to keeping you healthy and disease-free, laughter is right up there with a nutritious diet and regular exercise. Plus, it produces the opposite effects of stress, shutting down the release of cortisol. Like cuddling with your dog, laughter also leads to the release of dopamine, helping you feel calm and peaceful. So next time you feel weighed down by the news, queue up a funny pet video, and just laugh!

Let The Urban Dog Group help you and your furry friend find the perfect home. Contact Christine Elias at today!

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