Watching animal videos has become a staple of spending time on social media. While cat videos seem to top the charts, dog videos aren’t far behind them. People just love watching videos of dogs, whether it’s because the dog is doing something interesting or it’s a video of an exceptionally cute dog just being cute.
Watching dog videos feels like a fun escape from the downsides of having an online presence, like seeing negativity, bad news, and politics. Is there any science indicating that watching dog videos actually provides us some much-needed mental relief, though?
Is Watching Dog Videos Good for You?
Yes, there are some indicators that watching videos of cute animals, whether it’s dogs or something else, can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety and improve overall mood. With a reduction in stress and anxiety, there is a real possibility that watching dog videos can have an overall positive impact on your physical and mental health over time.
There was even a study performed by the University of Leeds in the UK and Western Australia Tourism that shows notable positive impacts from watching these videos. This study only involved 19 people, though, so larger and more long-term studies are needed.
What Positive Effects Do Dog Videos Give Us?
In the aforementioned study, the positive impacts of watching a 30-minute video of cute animals, including dogs, cats, baby gorillas, and quokkas, showed a reduction in heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety levels.
While anxiety levels are subjective and difficult to track, heart rate and blood pressure are easily tracked. The average reduction in blood pressure during the video was from 136/88 to 115/71. Heart rates showed a 6.5% reduction, bringing the average heart rate of the group to 67.4 beats per minute. An anxiety assessment was used before and after viewing the video, showing a 35% reduction in the reported anxiety levels of the participants.
The participants of the study reported finding videos more enjoyable and able to provide a greater reduction in anxiety levels than pictures. They had a strong preference for videos of cute animals interacting with humans, as opposed to videos featuring only animals.
Do Dogs Like Watching Dog Videos?
While the industry of programming for pets is still young, some experts believe that dogs can be stimulated by viewing a variety of videos, especially when those videos show other dogs. Some dogs have shown a distinct preference for videos of other dogs performing exciting tasks, like catching frisbees. Like with people, the studies showing the positive impacts of this type of video is limited, but it does show a promising future.
The study performed by the University of Leeds and Western Australia Tourism was significantly limited by the arrival of COVID-19, so longer and larger studies were put on the back burner for a few years.
Hopefully, the next few years will show significant improvements in the evidence of dog videos being beneficial to the health of humans and dogs. For now, keep watching videos of cute animals, like dogs and puppies, for around 30 minutes every day to get the biggest benefit.
Featured Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels