This article is shared with permission from our friends at Rover

Here at Rover, we’re passionate about making it possible for everyone to experience the joy of pet parenthood. After all, science tells us that dogs make us happier. Of course, we didn’t need proof, exactly. Still, it’s nice to see the evidence of what we’ve known all along: life is simply better with a dog. Here are 4 ways that dogs make you happier.

1. Dogs improve moods

Numerous studies have shown that having a pet can lessen the symptoms of depression and help pet parents maintain a positive, optimistic outlook.

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As author and animal expert Karen Winegar noted in a 2009 interview with the New York Times, “The human-animal bond bypasses the intellect and goes straight to the heart and emotions and nurtures us in ways that nothing else can.”

2. Dogs make great therapists

Animal companionship can be an important, even life-saving component of self-care for people experiencing depression and other mood disorders. Dogs can also help improve quality of life for people with autism and assist children in learning to read.

In fact, there’s pretty much nothing a dog can’t do when it comes to helping others. Take, for instance, this dog that provides therapy for disabled people—by surfing with them. Yes. Surfing dog therapy. It’s a thing.

3. Dogs reduce stress

In addition to helping your overall mood, dog guardianship has a measurable impact on stress levels. Consider this 2012 story about office workers in North Carolina who showed significantly lowered stress levels when they were allowed to bring dogs to work. That’s certainly true at the Rover office, where we love taking breaks with our office dogs.

Also, in Rover’s recent survey of the nation’s pet parents, we discovered that 93% of dog owners de-stress by walking their dog. Dog owners also report making friends and meeting neighbors because of their dogs.

4. Dogs increase oxytocin

Spending time with an animal increases your level of the hormone oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” a neurotransmitter that increases trust and reduces fear. Oxytocin helps you and your dog bond with each other and relax, so petting your dog isn’t just pleasant, it’s physiologically beneficial to you both (source).  

And there you have it! As if you needed a reason to get another dog (or your first dog) …

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Founded in 2011 and based in Seattle, WA, Rover is the nation's largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.