Petting a Dog Might Be More Beneficial Than You Thought
We all know that petting our dogs or pets feels good, but how does it affect us?
Research has found that our prefrontal cortex, the area of our brain that has a higher level of decision-making, is stimulated and helps us become more attentive and emotionally engaged when petting our dogs. In a time where so much engagement is spent with screens, it puts into perspective the importance of presence, communication, and health benefits.
In a time where so much engagement is spent with screens, it puts into perspective the importance of presence, communication, and health benefits.
Some of these researchers studied the differences between engaging with a dog or a plush animal, and the activation of the prefrontal brain activity was much higher, meaning that there is more arousal and attention with the living organism than a nonliving one.
The research was done with Jack Russells and golden retrievers, which are adorable, but that’s my opinion, and studied alongside a plush toy named Leo. Why the name Leo, we will never know. None of the dog owners were used, so there was no familiarity with the dogs, which helped with the control. Other previously researched health benefits have been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate. This new research adds to the emotional state, including depression, anxiety, and other related mental health conditions. The only thing that stands out is that the study was done already, non-pre-existing condition individuals. Perhaps we could see some done on someone already suffering from mental health disorders as well as difference of other pet as a variable. So the next time you find yourself having a good time with your dog petting, remember that it’s a feel-good situation and a transformational process.