The Love Hormone That Affects Dogs and Humans

2014-07-03 02:07:00

A recent study in Japan has found that the hormone oxytocin produces effects in dogs that are similar to humans. Scientists sprayed dogs with a harmless oxytocin spray and noticed that the dogs were much more affectionate, docile and responsive to commands.

They were also more likely to paw, sniff and lick their owners than those who were sprayed with a neutral saline solution. The ‘oxytocin dogs’ were also more affectionate to other dogs around them as well as their owners.

What is oxytocin?

Oxytocin, or as it is often referred to, the ‘love hormone’, has long been the centre of debate when it comes to discussing and studying the biology of love. Is it really possible to make somebody fall in love with you? Are there chemicals that can make a bond between a couple stronger?

Oxytocin and humans

Research on the effects of oxytocin on human subjects has shown that the chemical affects our ability to cooperate and interact with other people. The scientists responsible for the study into oxytocin’s effects on dogs believe that the same is true for dogs and could also be the same for cats and other mammals.

Lead scientist and author Theresa Romero, said ‘We discovered that following the application of the oxytocin spray, dogs were much more affectionate and paid more attention to controls and commands from their owners.’

The Human-Dog Bond

These findings could explain why the bond between dogs and humans is so strong and how that bond first began 33,000 years ago with the domestication of wolves. Dogs aren’t the only pets that we form strong bonds to though. No matter the animal, they are a part of the family whom we are responsible for and want to give them the best care we can. Pet insurance will mean they will be covered for any accidents of illnesses; getting them treatment, when they need it.

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