Petting other people’s dogs, even briefly, can boost your health

What’s four-legged, furry, and often serves up a quick little mood boost?

That’s right, a dog. It turns out even short, friendly interactions with canines can be good for our health.

I started pondering the power of dogs during one of my daily strolls around my neighborhood. Almost invariably, I’ll run into at least one person walking their dog. If I get the OK to pet the pooch, it’s a joyous moment of cooing and sloppy kisses.

I always walk away from these canine exchanges feeling just a bit more relaxed, and happy. And that got me wondering, could these short interactions with other people’s dogs actually be good for me?

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Photo credit: Sally Anscombe / Getty Images