Well-Being Mental Health

Scientists show that cuddling with a dog significantly improves your well-being

New research from the University of British Columbia-Okanagan suggests that having a dog to pet can change one’s mental well-being for the better.

An assessment of 284 undergraduates were tested in the study, which found that cuddling with dogs will boost one’s mood, according to a recently published study.


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An associate professor at UBC-Okanagan, John-Tyler Binfet led the research  on various types of interactions with therapy dogs and their impact on a person’s mood.

“We know that spending time with therapy dogs is beneficial but we didn’t know why,” Binfet said in a release.

Researchers studied touch and no-touch canine interaction, as well as interactions with the owner of the dog rather than directly with the dog. Students reported their well-being before and after the interaction, how much of a social connection they felt with the dog and if they experienced any stress during their interactions.

Physical touch with a dog, including tummy rubs, ear scratches and nuzzles,  provided students a greater mood boost than other interactions, researchers found.

“Results indicate that participants across all conditions experienced enhanced wellbeing on several measures; however, only those in the direct contact condition reported significant improvements on all measures of wellbeing,” the study concludes.

Binfet hopes that more schools provide access to service dogs as students return to college campuses.

“As students potentially return to in-person class on their college campuses this fall and seek ways to keep their stress in check, I’d encourage them to take advantage of the therapy dog visitation program offered. And once there — be sure to make time for a canine cuddle,” said Binfet in the release. “That’s a surefire way to reduce stress.”


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