The Science Behind Your Dog Loving You


CC Protection dogs, Rocky_resizedDogs are a man’s best friend. Because of this, when we look at our dogs, we tend to immediately feel the love we have for them. Takefumi Kikusui, a professor of veterinary medicine at Azabu University in Japan studied the chemical changes that occur when a man and his dog stare into each other’s eyes.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the science behind this study.

Oxytocin’s Role in Your Pet Dog Loving You

The study lead by Kikusui suggests that when humans stare in their dogs’ eyes, chemical changes occur in the body and oxytocin is released. This release creates a response that is similar to that of a mother gazing at its newborn. This then causes a “Love Hormone” to be released.

Similarly, when you make eye contact with your pet dog – not your family protection dog, the same chemical plays a major role and enhances your bond. Although your family protection dog loves you, most protection dogs do not do well with eye contact.

How the Study Was Conducted

A huge reason this study was conducted was to find out whether the loving bond between canines and humans are affected by the levels of oxytocin. To find this out, researchers measured the levels of oxytocin in both humans and dogs before leaving them together for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes of play, they then measured their levels.

The study found an increase in oxytocin chemical levels in both the human’s urine and the dog’s urine. Another study published in the Journal of Science also proved that the increase in the level of oxytocin in humans was directly proportional to that in their pet dogs.

The Bond of Love Between You and Your Dog

For dogs, researchers believe that their bond with humans comes from a friendly dog breed in the past learning to bond through eye contact. As for humans, we feel close to our dogs because we interpret their gaze as a symbol of affection.  Either way, the loving bond between humans and dogs is beautiful and irreplaceable.