Petting a Dog or Cat is Mutually Therapeutic

Dog & Baby



Did you know that petting your dog or cat has mutual benefits? It seems obvious that your pet gets pleasure from petting and shows it in many ways like rubbing up against you, nudging you, and often we see a smile and a gleam in their eye from petting.

For humans, petting often triggers the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which is a bonding hormone. They say that petting a dog for only 15 minutes can also release other feel good hormones such as serotonin and prolactin.   Another benefit is that the stress hormone called cortisol, has been known to be lowered by petting.  Studies have shown that the same effect happens with cats.

For those suffering with mild depression, by petting your pet, it stops you from focusing on your problems and looking inward and digging into a deeper hole. Your energies are now focused on your pet and it helps to take the worry and the depressive thoughts and turn them toward something positive and loving, outside of your own mind. What is amazing is our pets can usually tell when we are feeling blue and will often stay closer to us and want to snuggle more.

Many studies have shown that not only do we get the positive effects of petting, but our pets get the same kind of benefits, too.

So keep petting your pet so you both enjoy that mutual benefit that has been termed “the love loop”.

P.S. Do you think a cat and dog petting each other has the same effect?  [Photo: Courtesy of Funagram]




2 Responses to Petting a Dog or Cat is Mutually Therapeutic

  1. Ron Lueth says:

    My name is Ron Lueth and I manage the Pet Guardian Angles of America website at and I would like permission to re-post from your site. I would tell you which post I’d like to re-port, provide link backs to the articles and author and any other referenced links associated with the article, or any other statement(s) that you would like included.

    Pet Guardian Angels of America at started “live” in July of 1998 with the goal of providing pet related information to help our visitors better understand what kind of pet would fit their lifestyle and, once they owned a pet, to make sure the pet was well taken care of – emotionally and physically.

    Today we strive to provide that same information through informative links, book recommendations and health and general articles. The site includes dog and cat breed selection guides, breed profiles, small mammal guides, domestic bird guides, and fish, reptile and amphibian articles.

    PGAA also maintains an actively growing rescue index by state with an Internet service that provides free adoption and surrender assistance to our visitors. We have been very successful in helping people find pets and pets find people. Please visit our Guest Opinion page to read some of the comments about this service.

    We do not have a product to sell – only information to share.

    Please visit the PGAA site to see what we are trying to do, and I look forward to a favorable response.


    Ron Lueth
    Pet Guardian Angels of America
    Helping people find pets and
    pets find people

  2. Susan Lyman says:

    Hello Ron,

    Absolutely, I would love to have you re-post any blogs you would like. Your Pet-Guardian-Angels-of-America is a wonderful contribution to helping all animals find and stay in loving and forever homes. Thank you for all you do.

    I also wanted you to be aware, my business, Tails Untold Personalized Pet Books, creates one-of-a-kind, beautifully illustrated, coffee table, keepsake books. With your pet’s photos and unique characteristics, we creatively place your pet into each of 20 illustrated pages where you pet is the narrator and the star. Because we want to “give back”, we donate a portion of the sale of each book to an animal shelter/rescue. We do believe everyone should consider “adoption” as their first option.

    Thank you, again, Ron.
    Susan Lyman, President
    Tails Untold Personalized Pet Books

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