April 10 is National Hug Your Dog Day!
By: Melanie Rushforth, Vice President, Veterinary Services SPCA Serving Erie County
Some clever dog lover has deemed April 10th to be National Hug Your Dog Day. In case you needed a reason to hug your dog (besides the obvious), we have come up with several!
In both humans and dogs, oxytocin is released when you hug your dog. Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” because levels of oxytocin increase during hugging. Oxytocin also has social functions. It impacts bonding behavior, the creation of group memories, social recognition, and other social functions. Basically, hugging your dog is way better than any prescription!
Hugging your dog also gives both of you a sense of unconditional love and connection. Unconditional love, simply put, is love without strings attached. It’s love you offer freely. You don’t base it on what someone does for you in return. You simply love them and want nothing more than their happiness. I think that sounds just like a dog.
Hugging your dog calms and relieves stress no matter how bad of a day you had. Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, more than 50% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily. Adopting a dog (and hugging that dog…once the dog is properly introduced to a new environment) could certainly help lower that number!
The many health benefits of companionship are priceless. Dogs can decrease our stress, help relieve our anxiety, and can aid in the treatment of depression. They keep us active, lower our blood pressure, and make us feel safe. I can’t think of any one thing, other than a dog, that can do all of that. That alone deserves a hug.
Do you hug your dog?
The SPCA’s Lipsey Veterinary Clinic offers veterinary services for cats and dogs! To see all available services, please visit LipseyClinic.com. To make an appointment, please call 716-531-4700.