Pre-flight Jitters? 5 Benefits of Airport Therapy Dogs

Here’s a new reason dogs may be man’s — and woman’s — best friend:  to make your layover suck less. Travel can be a jittery experience, and airlines are helping curb that problem through the many benefits of airport therapy dogs.

Instead of wandering lost and bored around the airport, why not walk over to a furry, happy dog?

Airport therapy dogs are a relatively new and massive trend in airports to help passengers cool off their jets before their flight. After all, isn’t making people happy what dogs do best? (Besides giving you a good lick.)

If you can get into a better mood, you can get a better layover experience. Simple as that. Don’t believe it? There is evidence that petting dogs can help reduce stress, among many other things.

RECOMMEDED: The Ultimate Airport Therapy Dog Guide In North America

benefits of airport therapy dogs

Benefits of airport therapy dogs:

1. Creates a positive hormonal response

University of Missouri-Columbia researcher has found that interacting and petting animals creates a hormonal response in humans that can help fight depression.

Rebecca Johnson, MU professor of nursing and veterinary medicine, said that their “…preliminary results indicate that levels of serotonin, a hormone in humans that helps fight depression, rise dramatically after interaction with live animals, specifically dogs.”

Playing with or petting a dog increases the levels of the happiness hormone oxytocin and decreases the levels of cortisol, which is responsible for feelings of stress, thereby leading to a happier mood.

benefits of airport therapy dogs

2. Lowers blood pressure 

Studies show that animal-assisted therapy is an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. Petting a pet during your layover can get your stress levels to drop dramatically. In addition to winning your heart, they can help improve the way our heart works.

3. You can get some unconditional love

Who doesn’t want 100% acceptance without judgment? Dogs seem to just be there for you; there’s no attitude, no negative feedback. Dogs can make us feel better about ourselves.

study, published in the journal Biology Letters, suggests that dogs can recognize emotions in humans by combining information from different senses – an ability that has never previously been observed outside of humans. They can sense if we are feeling sad, lonely, or anxious and will try to help us feel better.

PHOTO: Charlotte Observer
PHOTO: Charlotte Observer

4. Gets you moving 

Sitting at your gate too long? Doggy action will get you moving – maybe even throw you on the floor! All this touchy-feely activity can provide you with some tremendous sensory stress relief. Touch and movement are two healthy ways to manage stress quickly.

5. Can make your layover less boring

Dogs make your layover less annoying. The next time a dog comes bounding up to you for a wet, sloppy kiss and a good belly rub, don’t back away! Let’s enjoy some pawsitive energy during our next layover and get on the flight a lot less stressed.

For tips on where and when to find airport therapy dogs on your next travel day, check out our airport therapy dog social media pages. Connect with us via our Facebook pageTwitter feed, and Instagram.

Make sure to tag us to share the pawsitive vibes and help travel fell less RUFF #airporttherapydogs.

UPDATED March 19, 2019 



Cristina Alcivar

Founder and Editor of Vane Airport Magazine. Passionate about everything well-being, love travel, the ocean, and the sun.


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