Why Do We Love Our Dogs So Much?
By: Katrina Rose
Besides the fact that they are soft and cuddly, goofy, funny, smart, loyal and loving…
Dogs have cracked the code. Dogs have an amazing ability to activate in humans the same biochemical response that enhances bonding between mothers and newborn babies.
When a mother looks into her newborn baby’s eyes it causes a flood of the hormone oxytocin to be released into the infant’s body. The infant then relaxes and stares into the mother’s eyes and the mother is then the recipient of this flood of oxytocin. The end result is a feeling of love, trust and relaxation. This whole feedback loop is an adaptive advantage that ensures bonding and therefore increase the odds of survival.
Takefumi Kikusui, an animal behaviorist at Azabu University in Sagaminara, Japan, has undertaken studies that have concluded that dogs have tapped into our survival mechanism and are using it to secure their position in our lives.
Staring into a dog’s eyes for 30 minutes raised the oxytocin levels in humans by 130 percent! Dogs make us feel good, it’s just science.
The American Heart association has linked pet ownership (especially dogs) to greater longevity and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Dogs have a powerful physical and mental effect on us. Some known side effects of dog ownership are:
- Increase in exercise
- Connectivity (helps to meet and interact with others)
- Adds structure and routine to your day
- Dogs can reduce anxiety
- Ease loneliness
- Connect us with play
- Create a sense of purpose.