We here at iHeartDogs are always telling you that your dog is the answer to all your problems, but we always try to back it up with scientific proof. Do you often get sick? Your dog can help. Depressed? See a doctor – and your dog about that. Having trouble losing weight? DOG.

Your dog is like the cure-all you never knew you needed. Just looking into the eyes of a dog makes us feel better. Most of us would describe this feeling as “love”, but on a chemical level, your body is releasing oxytocin. This is what bonds mother and child together when they hold eye contact.

Oxytocin promotes attachment, improves relationships, and reduces stress. It may also help that dogs evolved to communicate with their eyes, so it would be natural for us to feel a connection when we look in their eyes.

It isn’t just the eyes, though. Your dog is, from nose to tail, the perfect stress reliever. Petting a dog, whether he’s yours or not, causes your body to produce serotonin and dopamine. These two feel-good chemicals have a mood-improving effect on your brain, making you feel better when things have you down. These are the chemicals that are often lacking in those who experience depression.

Running your fingers through your dog’s fur turns your brain into a happy-factory, pumping out more cheer-inducing serotonin and dopamine, and boosting your mood. If you’re feeling out of it today, take some time to just sit with your dog a few minutes and give him a good pet or scratch. He’ll love it just as much as you do.

Even if you don’t have a dog in your home right now, you’re not out of luck. There are other ways to benefit from the feel-good effects that dogs have. Researchers at the University of Leeds found evidence to suggest that just watching videos of cute animals reduced stress. The study was cut short earlier this year due to circumstances out of their control, but the proof was strong in the sessions they were able to complete.

Blood pressure and heartbeats were clearly reduced in those who had spent time watching cute animal videos, and anxiety rates dropped by 35%. The effects were more pronounced in people who had watched cute videos instead of just looking at cute photos, so taking a little time out of your day to watch puppy videos could do you some good – let your boss know!

Because we’re stuck in a time when stress is high and moods are low, we’d like to invite you to take a moment out of your day, pet your dog, and watch some of these scientifically-proven, mood-improving videos now. Pass this along to your friends who could use a few minutes of calm, too!

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These two really love their mud! Follow these muddy buddies on Instagram.

Norbert is a tiny therapy dog who visits kids in hospitals and gives the BEST high fives! This is him with zoomies! Follow Norbert on Instagram.

Rufus is an excellent example of big, beautiful “puppy dog eyes.” Follow him on Instagram.

See more of this super calm pup, Pom, and sister Pixel on Instagram.

Most of Remo’s Instagram is pics of him sleeping, but this proves that he was an energetic young pup once – who didn’t understand why the cat didn’t want to play!

Sweet Basil is so patient with her little sister. There are a ton of cute pics and videos of them.

Amelia is Art the Corgi‘s new little sister. I want to snuggle her!

And finally, my favorite. You’ll want sound on for this one:

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A post shared by AcousticTrench (@acoustictrench) on Oct 6, 2020 at 12:29pm PDT

Maple loves music, and there are lots of videos of her sitting calmly, listening to dad play guitar or kalimba.

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Life is truly better with dogs – especially at times when things may seem uncertain or cause you to worry.

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