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Why pets make you happier (in 3 GIFs)

Author: The Simple Bit

Category: Science

We intuitively know that pets make us feel better, but is it backed by science? Spoiler alert: Yes.

The simple bits:

  • Both humans and pets get a boost of oxytocin after time spent playing
  • Oxytocin is sometimes called ‘the love hormone’
  • Just cut to the GIFs

This isn’t a newsflash for anyone with a doggo or cat-cat. Hell, even a fish. Pets make us feel better. And we all need to feel better at the moment, right? And all that good feeling your pets give you isn’t just a subjective thing. There’s actually SCIENCE behind it. 

A study  by Japanese scientists looked at the oxytocin levels in humans and their pets after they’d spent time playing together. 

After half an hour of playtime, both humans and animals experienced a boost in their oxytocin levels. Dogs had higher levels than cats, and humans who made the most eye contact with their pets experienced the biggest boost or oxytocin, some up to 60%. 

Oxytocin is sometimes known as ‘the love hormone’ or ‘the cuddle hormone’ and is the chemical released when we fall in love. So you REALLY DO love your pet. It’s science.

But it’s not just the oxytocin. Pets make you happier in other ways too. 

Cut to the GIFS.

Pets encourage routine

Wrongsday blends with Blursday at the moment. So it can be easy to fall out of our routine. But among other things, consistent sleep is proven to be good for mental wellbeing. And pets can be an excellent alarm clock to keep you in at least part of your old routine. 

Pets keep you active

Walking pets is one of the only legitimate reasons to leave the house right now. So what might have been a chore is a godsend in these times. As well as the physical benefits, exercise can release a feel-good chemical cocktail of endorphins and serotonin to go with all that oxytocin.

Pets give you unwavering love and support

Pets are also known to reduce stress and feelings of social isolation for their owners. Which, in these times of endless stress and necessary isolation is more important than ever. You’re never really alone when you have a pet. (Even in the toilet. I really need to train my dog better).


As things keep changing, so will we. Click here for details about how ahm can help you. Let’s try make these difficult times a little simpler together.