If you’re a client of Sonny’s Spaw, I already know you’re a dog lover. But did you know petting a dog is good for your brain?
New research is showing exactly how petting a dog affects our brains, and it’s just one more way that dogs make our lives better. Here’s how petting a dog impacts your brain, along with other ways dogs improve our lives.
How petting a dog impacts your brain
You might think that our brains process all the things we touch in the same way, but it turns out that isn’t true. The brain divides things that touch our skin into three categories: “pleasant,” “neutral,” and “unpleasant.” Each of these is interpreted in different ways in an area of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for a lot of emotional processing, so a pleasant feeling on the skin elicits positive emotions.
Petting a dog also releases serotonin and dopamine, two feel-good chemicals that can improve your mood. Serotonin and dopamine levels are often low in people who suffer from depression, so having a dog can help improve symptoms in depression sufferers.