What’s the chance that, at least once in your professional career, you caught a co-worker dragging into the office yawning and bleary-eyed because they watched cat and dog videos on YouTube instead of sleeping? They may not admit it, but the struggle is real, people. If you’re a pet lover and claim never to have seen anyone do this, chances are you’re the one who has stayed up all night.

Many studies have shown that pet ownership can help us maintain a more optimistic and upbeat attitude about our lives. Now, to be fair, recent research called the Whitehall II Study found no statistical support for the “Pet Effect” on the mental and physical health of pet owners versus non-owners.

If you’re a pet owner, though, you may already know what’s really going on—we love our four-legged fur buddies and believe—no, make that know—that they love us too! Since being with our doggos makes us happy, and happiness is a good and healthy thing, then dogs are good for us. That math worked out nicely, didn’t it?

Here are five ways that dogs earn their best-friend ranking while effortlessly boosting the quality of our lives:

  1. Exercise and fitness: Since most doggies love to run, and play, and fetch, and roll around in the grass, and dirt, and leaves or anything else in a pile, they usually get to drag you along with them two to three times a day. Anytime you walk a dog—or get walked by a bigger dog—you’re getting exercise and maybe even a bit of resistance training.
  2. Social connection: You can’t take a dog anywhere without someone talking to you, usually about the dog. Going to a dog park is almost as much fun for humans as it is for dogs. It’s a great time to chat with a person who has at least one common interest.
  3. Companionship: Even if you tend to be a loner and prefer your pet to the company of people, there you go. If you’re like most dog owners, you’re convinced that you and your pupper have a secret language and understand each other. Plus, when pupper lets you control the game console and TV remote, you know you’ve got the world’s best companion!
  4. Stress reduction: Ever have a tough day at work or school and just think, “I can’t wait to get home and hug my dog”? Even if you had a good day, coming home to a dog who’s waiting at the door just for you can cause your oxytocin level to jump. This “love hormone” helps to calm your nervous system, leaving you relaxed and feeling loved.
  5. Mood booster: This one’s a mega-bonus; the scientific name for it is “Snuggles, tail wags, and smushy-face kissies.” ‘Nuff said?

So upload the Teladoc app to your phone, and then drop it in your pocket, go outside, and play with your dog. If you get a scrape, bug bite, or too much sun while you’re having fun with your beloved pound puppy, Teladoc is as close as your mobile device. Our board-certified doctors can diagnose and treat a wide variety of non-emergency conditions. And we’re available 24/7 anywhere you and your best friend are.

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