Think that googly-eyed look from your pet pooch is a direct result of the snack you’re holding in your hand? According to new research from Claremont Graduate University in California, your dog might actually be experiencing love.
Scientists found that dogs release the same love hormone-oxytocin-as humans following social interactions, says this article from the Atlantic. Humans produce oxytocin when they are smitten with a partner or bonding with friends.
At an animal rescue in Arkansas, researchers gathered blood samples from a mixed-breed terrier and a goat, who often played together. They allowed the pair of animals to interact for 15 minutes and collected samples before and after playtime. Following the interaction, the dog’s oxytocin levels spiked 48 percent, which is similar to the reaction humans have when they are excited about a new friendship.
The goat, however, was even more enamored with the pup. It showed a 210 percent spike in oxytocin.