Dog owners already know in their bones that they and their pets love one another. Now, a new study has confirmed it, finding that love is chemically apparent after dogs and their owners gaze into one another’s eyes.
The study, conducted by researchers at several Japanese universities and published in the journal Science, consisted of two parts. In the first, the researchers watched 30 dog owners interact with their dogs for half an hour, and then measured both human and dog levels of oxytocin. (Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” or the “bonding hormone,” is fundamental to human intimacy; it is released during sex and creates attachment between couples, and also plays a role in mother-child bonding.)