They say that you are either a dog person, or a cat person. If you fall into the former category, there is a high chance that you feel the need to pet every dog that crosses your path. It can make getting to your destination a fairly delayed process.
But, as it turns out, you may be doing a lot for your mental health by engaging with those random pups.
Studies have shown that stroking dogs can be beneficial to your well-being as it lowers the level cortisol which is responsible for stress and anxiety. Interacting with the furry friends can provide a sense of calm and distract you from anxious thoughts.
In fact, it’s not only humans who reap the rewards. Play between people and pooches releases oxytocin which facilitates bonding and connection. As dogs are pack animals, this gives them a sense of belonging and purpose.
For all you cat lovers who are feeling a little left out, don’t worry. Researchers at Washington State University have found that petting a dog or cat can relieve stress in just 10 minutes.
So, next time you’re running 5 minutes late because you stopped to greet a pup on the street, remind yourself that it’s all in the name of mental health.