We spend a lot of time on social media looking at funny cat or dog videos, which instantly make us smile or laugh. If you are a pet owner, you must have also realized that coming back home to your eagerly waiting pet can just warm your heart. Looking at the wagging tail of your dog or listening to your cat purring makes you forget all about office stress or fights with your partner. Having a pet, spending time with them, playing and petting them, offers a lot of benefits. A research published by Sage Journals has shown that petting a dog can help to bring down levels of cortisol. It is the hormone that is responsible for stress, anxiety and depression. Let us look at other reasons why cuddling your pet has health benefits!
To know about health benefits of cuddling a pet, Health Shots reached out to Dr Trideep Kumar Choudary, Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.
Why should you cuddle a pet
A pet can help to get rid of boredom in your life and make you more playful. This can bring new energy to your daily life, says Dr Choudary. Here are more reasons to cosy up!
1. Cuddling a pet can help to get rid of anxiety
Anxiety is a common mental health issue where there is increased heart beat, sweating and you might feel restless, says the expert. This generally occurs when you constantly think about something and are constantly worried. Cuddling your pet will stimulate the release of the neurotransmitters — dopamine and serotonin. They might help to make you feel happier. Cuddling your pet is an effective way to tackle anxiety. This simple act can create a calming effect and help you to focus on the present moment instead of thinking of things that worry you.
2. Helps to deal with stress
Work or home, stress seems to follow everyone. Cuddling your pet helps to release oxytocin, which is associated with trust and relationship building. This can make you feel less stressed and uplift your mood. A study by the University of British Columbia Okanagan has revealed that cuddling a dog has proven to benefit a person’s well-being, and that it’s a surefire way to reduce stress.
3. Cuddling a pet can reduce depression symptoms
When you spend time with your pet, you might engage in various activities like cuddling, snuggling and playing with them. While doing so, you have to be very active. You have to follow a daily schedule based on your pet’s habits and needs during playful activities, says the expert. You also go through a lot of physical exercises. And when that happens, there is secretion of a hormone called serotonin in the brain, which is a natural anti-depressant.
4. Can lower chances of dying from heart attack or stroke
Having a cat means rubbing their bellies, listening to them purring and lots of cuddling. A study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology has shown that owning a cat might decrease a person’s risk of dying from heart attack or stroke. The sound of cat’s purr might also help to calm your nerves and lower your blood pressure.
5. Can give positive vibes
You can cuddle your cat or dog anytime, but doing it for a few minutes before getting out of bed in the morning can make you feel relaxed and happy. It will help with the positive vibes, something that you need every morning.
There is no specific guideline on how to cuddle a pet, but just be gentle and observe your pet’s behaviour!