Most of our canine companions will get excited to the point of euphoria at the sight of their leash, with the prospect of heading to the park for a quick run being enough to delight any pooch.

And while we may have thought that this is simply because our four-legged friends enjoy the opportunity to get out of the house, apparently their desire to bound around could be far more deep-rooted.

That's according to research conducted at the University of Arizona, which suggests that dogs get the same natural high out of running as humans do - and it's all because of chemicals known as endocannabinoids.

While these substances are typically found in marijuana, they also occur naturally in the body when we exercise, and it seems that the chemicals mean pooches get a similar sensation to people after a quick jog.

The research was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, and Univeristy of Arizona anthropologist David A Raichlen told National Public Radio's Morning Edition that the results indicate some form of evolutionary inclination for mutts to enjoy running.

"Maybe runner's high is not some peculiar thing with humans. Maybe it's an evolutionary payoff for doing something hard and painful that also helps them survive better, be healthier, hunt better or have more offspring," he explained.

Indeed, Mr Raichlen added that the human brain evolved in a way that encourages us to find pleasure in running because of the lifestyle benefits associated with exercise.

Given that regular activity is just as important for our canine companions as it is for us, it's vital we give them plenty of chances to stretch their legs and enjoy the freedom to run.

What's more, if we like to treat our four-legged friends with bowls full of premium dog food then it's essential we encourage them to burn off their tasty snacks.

Written by: Hannah