Petting Dogs Significantly Reduces Stress Levels, Study Finds

Science proves what dog lovers already know, petting a dog can significantly reduce your stress levels.

A Washington State University study found petting cats and dogs can dramatically lower a person’s cortisol levels by analyzing how stressed college students reacted to petting animals.

The study involved 249 college students who participated in an animal visitation program. They were separated into four groups. Each group interacted with the animals differently - they were either allowed to immediately pet cats and dogs, observe others petting the animals, watch slideshows of the same animals or were put on wait list for an animal petting session.

The students’ cortisol levels were measured through saliva samples. All it took was just 10 minutes for the first group to experience lower amounts of stress.

Researchers say the results show college-based animal visitation programs provide effective stress relief.