Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Dogs and Dopamine

It’s an undeniable fact that there is nothing like getting home after a long day, and feeling the abundance of love that dogs bring. They get hair everywhere, they sleep in your bed, and they will almost definitely attempt to eat your food when you’re not looking. They can trick you, cost you and fool you. And yet you just can’t stay mad because they fill a  room with pure wholesome joy.

In this doggo-obsessed society, when you walk past a merry doge, it’s highly likely that you’ll get the urge to rush over and pet them. If you’re very lucky, then the dog may bound over to you, allowing you blessed belly rubs and ear scratches. Occasionally, you may spot a doggo wandering round campus, and you would not be alone if you’ve ever considered keeping one in your room for the rest of the year secretly.

It’s not just when we see dogs in real life that we feel delighted. We go out of our way to watch countless videos of dogs being clumsy on the Internet. We seek out pictures of fluffy, adorable puppers borking together, and we track down endless doge memes. It’s safe to say that we are a pretty dog-obsessed society. But why are we so obsessed with dogs?

First of all, it has been scientifically proven that dogs improve our mental health. If you are feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed, interacting with a dog in a relaxing setting has been confirmed to help. Just being around a dog can release chemicals in your brain, such as dopamine and oxytocin, otherwise known as the happiness and love hormones. By focusing on a dog’s furry warmth for just ten minutes, stress and anxiety levels have been proven to be reduced. Dog interaction also increases mindfulness, as well as a lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

As a result of this, many universities (including Warwick) now put on “doggy destress days”. You book a time slot, and get to pet a doge for 10 to 15 minutes. Heavenly. This can bring comfort to students who are finding things a little too much, especially during stressful times like exam periods. It’s an amazing chance to relax, and also raises money for great charities. Not only is this incredibly pawsome for you, but these chemicals are also released in the dog, meaning they feel really loved in return!

So when that doggo is leaping up at you, whining for cuddles, know that it is doing so with genuine affection and love in its heart. And when dogs gaze up at you with those big brown eyes, they’re not just trying to work out where the next treat will come from- they’re genuinely trying to understand how you’re feeling. The world is constantly demanding so much of us. There are deadlines, exams and finding a job to worry about, so having ten minutes to let a doggo love you is very much needed.

If you’re in need of cuddle, be sure to check out the library website to see when Warwick’s next doggy event is, or keep your eyes peeled for Warwick RAG’s Doggy De-Stress Days, in aid of Guide Dogs UK.


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