Loving Your Pet with All Your Brain
Published October 12, 2020
Pet parents at-large are happier and healthier than the general population, according to academic research. Oxytocin is a contributing factor—in addition to our pets’ cuteness of course! The feel-good hormone, helps us bond with each other and our pets too. When you spend time with a loved one, your brain sends oxytocin from your hypothalamus, which courses through your body, generating a feeling of loving connection. In a study, mothers’ brains reacted exactly the same way in response to photos of their kids and their pets, suggesting that as far as your brain is concerned, Fido is truly your baby.
As if you weren’t in love with your pet enough, your body doesn’t stop there. Besides releasing oxytocin, your pooch has the power to trigger the production of other happy hormones, namely dopamine and serotonin. Serotonin regulates your mood and social skills, while dopamine, the reward hormone, controls pleasure and emotions. Psychologists say that your anterior cingulate cortex, the part of your brain that processes emotions and empathy reacts positively when you simply pet an animal. The longer you interact with your pet, the happier you will feel. For all that, Fluffy deserves a treat.
CNBC reported that animal rescues around the country had a spike in adoptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether motivated to end the loneliness caused by social distancing or to take advantage of telecommuting to rear a new pet, humans are seeking out four-legged companions at record rates.
Kaitlyn Wylde from Bustle interviewed individuals who did not think of themselves as pet people, but who decided to adopt a pet to curb the pandemic blues and now couldn’t imagine their lives without their fur babies. Scientists say the reason is because spending extended periods of time with our pets, incorporating them into our daily routines, and allowing our experience with them to reshape our worldview, changes our brain circuitry, causing lasting changes to how we perceive our pets. In essence, pets change our brains.
Pets inspire us to be better. Essentials PetCare, for example, was inspired by a rescue puppy’s strong will to live. Annie’s story was the catalyst for our mission to ensure all pet owning families can access quality health care at an affordable price. Honoring Annie as a representative of all rescued pets, we created the Annie’s Army Program.
Annie’s Army is a collaboration between Essentials PetCare and local pet rescue organizations to help promote affordable preventive care for pets and support the important work rescuers do. Annie’s Army offers a free veterinary exam at Essentials PetCare clinics for any new pet you may have rescued within the last 6 months from a shelter or rescue group.
In addition, Annie’s Army donates to participating shelters or rescue groups after each adopted pet’s first visit to Essentials PetCare. The motto of the program is a new leash on life with a furever home and quality care at Essentials PetCare. If you adopted a pet within the last 6 months, a free physical exam allows you to:
- Receive recommendations for the pet’s best preventative care, following a thorough doctor’s exam. The exam also includes a prescription to get started on flea prevention, if needed.
- Have your questions regarding the new pet’s care answered by an experienced veterinarian, such as nutrition, internal and external parasites, and preventative care recommendations.
- Have your new pet registered to receive reminders when vaccinations, lab tests, or other important preventative health services are due.