Three-dog nights

Posted Feb. 17, 2011, at 8:15 a.m.

Cold weather is one reason you might invite Rover to cuddle up in bed with you. But there are others, the New York Times reports today,  including documented evidence that close physical contact with our pets decreases anxiety and promotes happiness.

“First, touching, human or otherwise, raises levels of oxytocin in the body, creating feelings of contentment. And, of course, the comfort that an unconditionally loving animal provides in bed is a emotional balm, especially for the depressed, lonely or anxious,” the Times reports.

The story finds that many pet owners are unconcerned about a recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that pets can spread germ-causing diseases to the humans who love them. Read the whole story here.