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Home > General > Is Watching Animal Videos Good for You? What Science Says

Is Watching Animal Videos Good for You? What Science Says

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It seems today you can’t throw a stone online without hitting a cute, cuddly, or ridiculous animal video. Animal videos are being posted to the internet at an enormously fast rate and being viewed just as quickly. From poodles dancing to cats pouncing, you could spend days watching animal videos and not even scratch the surface of the vast ocean of them on YouTube and other channels.

You’ll be glad to know the research on watching animal videos points to them being very good for your overall health, including reducing your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as your anxiety levels.

So, watching animal videos may positively affect humans, but there are still many other questions surrounding the activity. Before you watch another dog do something goofy or a mongoose do something marvelous, read on.

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What Does the Research say about People Watching Animal Videos?

Although animal videos have only been around for a few decades, it’s long been known that humans have an affinity with animals and that being around them has a calming, soothing effect on most people. Petting, stroking, caring for, or engaging with an animal has long been used as therapy, especially for those recovering from a traumatic event.

The same can be said for animal videos. Even without the ability to interact with them, watching animals makes us laugh and sometimes cry and can have a calming effect. That effect was proven by a study undertaken at Leeds University in England. Researchers found that study participants had lower blood pressure and heart rates after watching 30 minutes of animal videos. In fact, on average, participants were tested to have a 6.5% drop in heart rate, which is statistically significant.

One of the fascinating changes seen during the study was the drop in the participant’s anxiety levels. Researchers reported that for some participants, a startling 50% drop in anxiety levels was reported, which is a decrease similar to those seen with anxiety medications. That’s a profound change when you consider that watching animal videos is also 100% safe and has no side effects. More research is needed, but from what researchers and scientists have found, watching animal videos is good for your health.

man watching cat videos on laptop
Image By: McLittle Stock, Shutterstock

Why does Watching Animals Videos Make Us Feel Better?

There’s a physiological reason most people feel better after watching animal videos, and most of it has to do with the hormone oxytocin. Like all hormones in the human body, oxytocin affects many body systems and functions. It affects your heart rate, blood pressure, and the production of other hormones that cause stress.

Oxytocin calms you down, makes you feel better, and helps your body recover from illnesses. Watching animal videos prompts your body to release oxytocin, which is why you feel better when you do.

Can Watching Animal Videos Have Other Beneficial Effects?

From what’s been discovered in several studies, it appears that watching animals on video, even when they’re just sleeping, does cause other positive effects on the human body. Below we’ll take a closer look at the most intriguing of these effects.

woman watching a beagle dog video on her phone
Image By: Artem Beliaikin, Unsplash

Watching Animal Videos Boosts Productivity

Japanese researcher Hiroshi Nittono found that watching animal videos helped boost participants’ performance and focus. Part of his study involved having people play the child’s board game Operation before and after watching animal videos. After watching, most were able to play the game better.

Watching Animal Videos Might Help Your Relationship

One small study showed that couples who watched animal videos together reported higher levels of marital satisfaction. Over several weeks of viewing them together, with some teams watching regular videos and others watching videos with cute animals, the latter group reported a higher level of satisfaction in their relationship.

couple watching tv
Image By: yousafbhutta, Pixabay

Watching Animal Videos Can Make You Psychologically Stronger

An interesting phenomenon happens when people watch animal videos; they create an upward spiral of positivity. The positivity from watching animal videos leads to a positive self-outlook, which leads to less stress and a better awareness of your situation.

Watching Animal Videos Can Put You in a Positive Mood

You don’t need to be a scientist to see the effect watching cute and cuddly animals has on people; it’s effortless to spot. A study in 2015 showed that watching animal videos was a stronger mood inducer than music, which was long thought to be one of the best methods to help a person relax and feel good.

woman in red sweater watching laptop beside white cat
Image By: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

Watching Animal Videos Lowers Your Stress Levels

This study from 2021 found that watching videos of dogs playing and resting reduced anxiety in participants and lowered their stress levels considerably. Interestingly, participants who watched a waterfall and a slow-moving stream, both considered calming images, weren’t as calm afterward as those who watched the dog videos, even when the dogs were at rest.

Can Watching Animal Videos Be Harmful?

While there’s been a good bit of research on whether watching animal videos is beneficial, few have tackled whether watching too many can hurt you. As with almost anything, watching animal videos in moderation is always recommended.

For example, if a person watches animal videos for 10 hours a day, most would call that an unhealthy activity or possibly even an addiction. However, very little scientific data is available to prove that the videos could be detrimental.

woman eating popcorn while watching movie with dog
Image By: yousafbhutta, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

There’s overwhelming evidence showing that watching animal videos is good for you. Watching puppies play and cats crash into things lowers your blood pressure and stress levels, makes you feel better about your life, and might even make you a better partner.

As for the science surrounding the subject, many small studies link watching animals frolic, play, and even sleep to positive psychological changes, including less stress and anxiety. It’s a good thing watching animal videos is good for us because more videos of animals being adorable are being made every day.

Featured Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock

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