Happy International Happiness Day!
Happy International Happiness Day! Did you know dogs and humans get a mutual benefit from spending time with each other? Let us tell you more...
Oxytocin, happiness & mood boost!
A number of studies have shown that when humans and dogs interact they both experience a surge in oxytocin. This hormone is known as the ‘love’ or ‘cuddle’ hormone and assists in forming a bond between humans and dogs. You will experience a similar surge when you fall in love or cuddle with a loved one (dogs included).
This means that whenever you spend time with your doggy pal, especially if you make eye contact with them, you will be getting an increase in this hormone which leaves you feeling happier whilst providing your dog with the same feeling.
Walking your dog is also a great way to boost your mood! Getting outside and walking can help increase your levels of Vitamin D which is known to help reduce depression and low mood.
A study which was investigating the benefits of owning dogs also found that “Pet owners also do almost double the amount of exercise – raising their heart rate five times a week compared to just three times for non-pet owners”. Exercise is also known to increase endorphins which relieve stress and pain and make you happy.
We need the same things: exercise, routine, social interaction & mental stimulation
Dogs and us humans are very similar in that they need a few things to ensure their happiness. A good diet, routine, exercise, mental stimulation, social enrichment and love and affection are the basis of a happy dog.
Providing your dog with a routine can be really motivating for you too. Ensuring you get up to walk them, feed them at a certain time and tidying up after them can prevent us from getting stuck in a rut and remind us to take care of ourselves.
Is your dog showing signs of happiness?
So what are the signs of a happy dog? Although dogs have the emotional capacity of 2 year old children, they can’t vocalise their emotions. Instead, we can look for cues in their body language and behaviour.
- They are happy to play and go for a walk. A loss of interest in these things could be a sign of discomfort or being unwell.
- They have a good appetite. If your dog is experiencing a change in appetite, this could be an early sign of unhappiness or illness.
- They aren’t destructive! Bored or unhappy dogs are more likely to chew on things they shouldn’t.
- They make lots of body contact with you.
- They are excited to see you when you walk in the door.
- Relaxed ears that aren’t pulled back or too alert
- Confident but relaxed stance
- A good tail wag that sometimes makes their whole body wiggle
- Showing you their belly and rolling over
It is important to remember that every dog is different. If your dog doesn’t do all of these things, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong. You should talk to your vet if you have any concerns.
What to do to help your dog be happier today!
Why not give your dog some extra love today for International happiness day. We have lots of ideas and suggestions for entertaining your dog and bonding with them while stuck indoors!