Recharge in Just 10 Minutes by Spending Time with Your Pet

| October 6, 2023

When a pet and their human form an unbreakable connection, they become each other’s go-to source of happiness and support. That’s what we call the human-animal bond, and it’s something truly unique. But they’re more than just companions; they’re our lifelines. And they can help us in more ways than we think.  

Are Dogs Natural Stress-Relievers?

A recent study explores the influence of canine interaction on psychological distress. Does spending time with our dog really improve our mental health or is it just all in our head? 

In the study, 73 pet parents participated in a stress test. During the test, a loud explosive sound occurred whenever they answered a question incorrectly or exceeded the time limit. The researchers recorded their stress levels and then randomly divided them into three groups, each group engaging in a different activity for 10 minutes. The activities included interacting with their dogs, colouring in a stress-reducing colouring book, and quietly waiting alone. The results were clear: the group that had the opportunity to interact with their dogs experienced a significant and substantial reduction in stress and anxiety levels. 

Interestingly, the study found that factors such as breed, age, or size of the dog didn’t seem to matter; all dogs offered the same level of comfort, regardless of their specific characteristics. This held true whether they were new pet parents or had been caring for their furry friends for a long time. When families reunite with their fur babies, they feel calm, comforted, and relaxed. The human-animal bond runs deep and provides a sense of healing that goes beyond the surface level. 

Time Spent is Pressure Relieved

The amount of time you spend with your dog has a direct effect on your emotional regulation. The participants who spent more time with their dogs reported a decrease in stress levels than people who spent less time with their dogs. The human-animal bond is so powerful that even just 10 minutes can release tension, improve your mood, and make you feel less stressed.  

“I don’t want to be overly grandiose in this conclusion, but it’s nice to know that if you feel stressed, spending time with your dog can be an intentional way to comfort yourself, to make yourself feel a little bit lighter, a little bit less anxious,” says study coauthor, Hannah Ralia of the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

The anxiety of living in uncertain times can be overwhelming, depressing, and stressful. With so much up in the air, it can be difficult to know how to push forward. The answer is clear: pets provide such a profound impact on our mental health that relying on them might be our best foot forward. Though the study focused on dogs, even cats have been shown to decrease stress levels in their pet parents. If beside every human there was a devoted pet following not far behind, how different of a world might that be?