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There’s a scientific reason you should be talking to your pet


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Photo: Stocksy/Boris Jovanovic

If you talk to your dog more than you talk to your best friends, you’re not alone. In fact, having a furry shoulder to lean on is actually really good for your health.

You tell your pup it’s time for a walk, and it runs toward the door. Then when you offer a treat, it jumps around with excitement. After bonding with a pet, it’s hard to imagine it not understanding everything you say—and even though you know your canine bestie doesn’t fully speak our language. The responsiveness we get from pets makes us see something human in our cuddle buddies, according to The Atlanticwhich is why we keep talking.

“I don’t think [pets are] processing words the same way we process words, but we have this communication system based on language.”

“They give us a lot back,” Hal Herzog, an anthrozoologist and professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, told The Atlantic. “When you talk to them, they respond. Your dog might cock his head, give you a sort of quizzical look, like, Huh? I say, ‘Do you wanna go outside?’ and my cat will come up to me and she’ll meow. I don’t think she’s processing words the same way we process words, but we have this communication system based on language.”

All that chatter creates more than just a close bond between you and your pooch; it’s also really great for your own well-being since dogs do make the best therapists and secret-keepers. Treating our pets like cute, fluffy humans not only provides the emotional support we might not get from actual people, but it also keeps us active and in shape (#SquatYourDog, much?), makes sure we’re never lonely, lowers anxiety and stress levels, and makes us ridiculously happy.

So the next time you feel super weird for asking Fido how his day was, think again. Having a quick gab with your barking BFF is fully acceptable—even if you only get puppy-dog eyes as a response.

Feel free to stalk these healthy it-dogs of Instagram. Then, start planning to make every morning a dog-friendly dance party.

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