7 Reasons to Pet a Dog

The best benefits of simple petting sessions

By Jon Nelson

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There are a number of benefits to petting a dog that most of us don’t ever realize we’re receiving. From a calmer state of mind to improved relationships; here are 7 reasons that petting a dog is so much more than you thought it was.

1. It relaxes you

When you pet your dog, it calms your nerves and chills you out; dropping your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. The next time you’ve had a stressful day, instead of reaching for wine and cigarettes, try reaching for your pup!

2. It relaxes them

Nervous dog? Ease their minds by letting them know you’re close by and everything’s fine. Petting them will improve their temperament and reduce any anxieties they may have.

3. Improve your mood

It’s not just stress but your overall mood that petting your dog improves. It’s hard to stay upset about something when you’re running your hand over a warm, soft, furry coat.

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4. Distract your mind

Can’t get a thought out of your head and feeling a bit anxious about it? Petting a dog can be a form of meditation by concentrating your mind on a small task. If the anxious thoughts pop back in, don’t be deterred. Instead, bring your mind back to the present task by focusing on what your hands are doing.

5. Get some thinking done

You know how we do our best thinking in the shower? This is because we’re in a familiar place and our brain is running through the motions of showering, letting our minds wander. The same can happen when you pet your dog. This is the opposite of #4 but can be just as effective depending on what we want (or don’t want) to think about.

6. Bond with your bestie

You’re probably already in a great relationship with your dog, but every time you have a petting session, it brings you that much closer. It lets your dog know he’s loved and in return will improve behavior by reinforcing your position as the pack leader.

7. Warm up for the real thing

We all like to be touched but have you ever had a partner that just didn’t know how to make you feel comfortable? That person probably never owned an animal. You don’t have to be a professional masseuse, but realizing that pleasurable touch comes from calm, slow, gentle caresses is something that can be learned by just petting a dog from time to time.