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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. But it isn’t just a subjective feeling. There’s actually SCIENCE behind it. 

A recent 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

Consistent sleep is proven to be good for mental wellbeing. And pets can be an excellent alarm clock.

Pets keep you active

Pets tend to get you out and about. And 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. You’re never really alone when you have a pet. (Even in the toilet. I really need to train my dog better).