If you’re looking for a little extra love these days, some Canadian researchers say animal therapy might be the pick-me-up you need.
Direct contact with a dog has been shown to increase your wellbeing, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia Okanagan.
Over 200 students took part in a study designed to help them reduce their stress levels when schools return to face-to-face learning this fall.
And as you might have guessed, the chance to cuddle and make love with a canine companion provided a huge boost in the mood.
How did the course work?
The study was conducted by Dr. John-Tyler Binfet, an associate professor in the School of Education, directed and focused not only on how the use of therapy dogs can improve a person’s mood, but also what kind of interactions with a four-legged friend have the greatest benefits.
“We know there is a benefit in spending time with therapy dogs, but we didn’t know why,” said Binfet.
Participating students provided the researchers with reports on their own wellbeing, specifically measuring their ideas of happiness, social connectedness, and stress, to name a few.
The students either took part in a non-contact or non-contact interaction with dogs, or they spent time with a dog handler but without the therapy dog present.
The researchers found that physical contact with a dog, such as belly rubbing, ear scratching, and ankles, has been shown to give students the highest overall mood boost.
“I would encourage [students] to use the offered visiting program for therapy dogs. And when you get there, be sure to take the time to cuddle the dog, “said Binfet.” It’s a surefire way to relieve stress.
The cover photo of this article is for illustrative purposes only.