I’ve often thought that my dog seems to feel just as good as I do after a run, but I’ve been unable to find any scientific proof, until now.
Researchers at the University of Arizona put dogs, humans and ferrets on a treadmill, and measured the amount of endocannabinoids that were produced after exercise. Endo – produced inside the body, cannabinoids – chemicals that activate cannabinoid receptors in the brain that cause a euphoric feeling.
Ferrets aren’t a species that evolved to run, so it’s not too surprising that they didn’t show any response to running. However, both dogs and humans showed much higher levels of endocannabinoids after a session on the treadmill. This means that our dogs do indeed get that runner’s high.
One thing to take note of is that this research found that dogs didn’t get those good feelings after a low intensity walk. What does this mean for you? It means that walking your dog is certainly nice, it gives him the opportunity to sniff and explore and, if he’s anything like my Guinness, to pee on any vertical object. But, it isn’t likely to have any effect on his behaviour. If you’re looking to make your dog calmer, happier and more chilled, then you need to get him out for a run.
That’s not hard, even if you’ve never run before. Grab our training program – it’s free – and make a start. You and your dog will both feel good, and you can both spend the rest of the day enjoying your runner’s high.
You can read the abstract from the Journal of Experimental Biology here.