ORLANDO, Fla. – Our pets may be the ones who impact us the most. In fact, a study revealed that those who spent more time with their dogs experienced a 300 percent increase in oxytocin levels and experts say loving a pet is an innate part of our nature as humans.
Eighty-seven point three percent of Americans were reported as happier than the average person because of owning a pet. Our pets may be connected deeper to us than we will ever know.
“Dogs, for example, understand human communication much better than a human primate,” said Federico Rossano, Ph.D., a Cognitive Scientist at UCSD.
Recent research on canines showed that they pick up on chemical and psychological cues from their owners that make those moods spread. When you’re stressed, your dog is stressed too.
Rossano says, “When you cry, their heartbeat changes. Their heartbeat changes. They can realize there’s something off.”
While cats can appear detached at times, one study showed that cats would rather spend time interacting with their owner than eating. Petting a cat can also release oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, and is proven to improve our moods.
Having a pet is linked to an increased life span as well. They contribute to longer lives by influencing longevity, stress reduction, fighting cardiovascular disease, and linking us to support systems.
“You actually have a living creature that cares about you, that pays attention to you, and they will notice,” said Rossano.
Pets may also keep us alive longer. A study of over 2000 pet owners showed significantly lower risk of death from stroke and heart attack compared to non-pet owners.