Dogs give us so much: from comfort and love to companionship and loyalty. Now, a new scientific study is proving that petting dogs is like drugs to our brains. Although dog lovers around the world are exclaiming a collective “duh” to this news, we love learning how dogs affect our brains and why.

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One of the five senses we all share is touch. When you physically touch something, the anterior cingulate cortex part of the brain sorts the sensation out into pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant categories.

Chemicals get triggered in the brain by a pleasant sensation, including serotonin and dopamine. Those very same chemicals are triggered by cocaine, amphetamines, and alcohol.

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Dogs are drug-free and a whole lot safer than anything chemical based. The mere act of petting a dog releases these most awesome chemicals in our bodies via the brain.

Oxytocin also gets released, which helps create trust and altruism in bonding. Dogs may help lower blood pressure and anxiety, and now we know why.

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The next time you need a boost of warm fuzzies, pet your dog and enjoy!