Puppy Love: Study Explains the Bond Between Human and Dog

Have you ever looked into your dog’s eyes and wondered, “why is my dog so charming?” What is it about your dog’s adoring gaze that makes it so powerful? A new study by Japanese scientist Miho Nagasawa seems to have found the answer, and it has to do with something called the cuddle chemical, love hormone, or oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a substance in the blood that encourages bonding. Levels of oxytocin increase, for example, when a mother feeds her newborn baby. High levels of the “love hormone” have also been observed in couples in the first six months of a relationship. According to Nagasawa’s study, levels of oxytocin can also go up when we look deeply into the eyes of a dog.

The Cuddle Chemical/Love Hormone

Humans and dogs have been working together for nearly 30,000 years. In order to better understand how the love hormone worked between dogs and humans, Nagasawa and his team conducted an experiment. They tested levels of oxytocin in dogs and humans, and learned that oxytocin levels in both humans and dogs were higher after interaction with one another. The same was not true for wolves and their human handlers.

The results of this study tell us a lot about the history of the bond between humans and dogs. Over time, dogs that have interacted with humans have become more loyal to their human partners. So loyal, in fact, that they are capable of releasing a “love hormone” just by gazing into our eyes.

As expected, puppy love is just as powerful as love from other humans. The bond you form with your pet is remarkably similar to the bond you form with your child or significant other. This Valentine’s Day, make sure you share the love with your pet too!

Read more about puppy love here.

Find out how to share the love this week at Brookside Barkery.