Hey, all! It’s Lana! I know you’re very excited to hear from me, especially since I’m writing today to help each and every one of you.
You may not know this, but dogs give great advice. And it just so happens, I have lots to say about happiness. I’m a happy dog. (I’m the star of a blog, what’s there not to be happy about!) So I’d like to help you all feel happier, too.
Behold, Dr. Lana’s 10 easy cures for sadness (for people and their dogs):
1. Have a treat
If you’re not worried about your figure, snacks are great. I especially like cookies that taste like peanut butter. Oh, and apple! And cheese! Ice is good, too. And banana. Whatever momma has handy will do. (She says there are certain foods that boost humans’ moods, too – like chocolate.)
2. Go for a run
Not right after eating a treat, of course. Personally, I like to chase after things. Most recently I chased a big snake, but mom screamed bloody murder so I had to stop. I’ve also enjoyed chasing lizards, deer, and laser pointer dots. Though, if nothing interesting is around, I’ve been known to run in big circles, too. Anything to get the endorphins going! (That’s what mom says, at least.)
3. Take a nap
After eating treats, I think this one is mom’s favorite. I don’t blame her, since she doesn’t even go anywhere when she runs! What a weird moving floor these people have in their house… Anyway, mom sets a blanket on her sheets so I can nap with her. It’s kind of comforting to have my person there when I’m sleeping. Definitely a mood booster when I wake up.
4. Play a game!
As I mentioned before, chasing lasers is super fun. Fetch works, too. And of course just about every dog loves tug o’ war. The fun we’re having will rub off on you, and we’ll enjoy the time, too!
5. Pet your pooch
I love to be pet. Petted? Pat? Whatever…
Belly rubs, ear scratches, and just plain old human contact are nice. Momma helped explain why, because I thought I was weird, but I guess not. She says petting dogs (and other mammals, too!) releases a hormone called “oxytocin” (and a couple of others). This hormone is released when human mothers interact with their children, and when dog owners interact with us! Even eye contact can release this feel good chemical! But guess what is even better: we dogs feel the release of this hormone, too! So you feel better, we feel better, and our bond grows stronger. (Mom loves learning about stuff like this, so she insisted I include a link to an article about it for anyone else who is interested!)
6. Go for a ride!
Car rides are the best. Especially when there is someone on a bike to bark at! Just a change in scenery can do wonders for you. Not to mention, driving (and for some of us, being a passenger), takes a lot of focus. And you can’t stress about your problems if you’re focused on something else! (Bonus: if you drive us around without taking us to the vet once in a while, we won’t associate car rides with that scary place!)
7. Watch television (just not too much!)
Kind of like the car ride, sometimes you just need to get out of your own head. Personally, I prefer something with animals. Like a nature documentary! Sometimes I even forget the animals aren’t really there and I’ll try to make friends with them. Mom says I’m halfway to becoming a “fangirl”. (Sing-a-longs are great, because singing also boosts humans’ moods – that’s why mom loves Disney movies when she’s sad.)
8. Hang out outside
We (dogs) love the outside. There are fascinating sights, sounds, and smells, as well as the wonderful feel of sunshine on our bellies. The sunshine is good for you, too! My human is a bad example, since she’s “pale as death”, but she explained that exposure to sunlight can actually increase a person’s serotonin levels. This can help them feel happier. Just remember, if we’re going to be outside for long, dogs and humans alike may need sun screen!
9. Listen to some music
Calming music seems to have positive effects on both people and dogs. Momma used to play soothing music for all of the dogs when she worked at a dog daycare, and everyone seemed quieter with the music playing. Some studies have even shown anxiety may be reduced by classical songs with a slow tempo in dogs in shelters. (Just remember heavy metal, baroque, and other harsh music won’t make you or your dog feel better!)
10. Try aromatherapy
Some scents are said to have mood boosting effects. Many believe this is true for people and dogs! Mom and I have never tried aromatherapy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it worked!