Love Hormone Deepened Our Relationship With Dogs

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Dogs apparently thrive on oxytocin, a love hormone that helps human mothers and babies bond.

According to a new Australian study, dogs were better at understanding cues to find hidden treats after they were given the chemical that helps people feel empathy and solve all sorts of social problems. It seems that oxytocin has the same effect on our best buddies, says Jessica Oliva who carried out the research as part of her PhD in biological sciences at Monash University. She explains that these findings shed a new light on the human-canine bond and how dogs eventually evolved to become so important to us.

Oliva says that patting and talking to your pooch for just three minutes increases oxytocin levels in the blood stream of human and dog alike. Also, studies have confirmed that the closer a human feels to a dog, the more oxytocin appears in the human’s urine.

“So that really seemed to suggest that oxytocin is involved in feelings of closeness to your dog.”

She plans to do the exact same experiment with wolves in order to deepen our knowledge about evolution. Currently, Oliva wants to find out if there is a genetic difference in the oxytocin receptor gene in the dogs who performed the task best. That could lead to selective breeding of guide dogs, military dogs and customs dogs, Oliva concludes.

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