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Dogs really do love their owners, study shows

Posted on Sunday, 27 April, 2014 | Comment icon 26 comments

Dogs really are capable of feeling love and affection. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Robert Simmons

New research suggests that the love of a pet towards its owner is more than just a way to elicit food.

While domesticated pets can often appear to be expressing their affections for you, some animal behaviorists have argued that such displays are based more on survival instincts than on the emotions of love or friendship as we understand them.

Now scientists in California believe that they have successfully demonstrated that some animals really are capable of exhibiting genuine affection for their owners. To do this the team looked for a release of oxytocin ( or "the love hormone" ) in the brain, the same chemical involved in the forming of close bonds between humans.

The results showed that animals such as dogs, cats and even goats experienced the same feelings of love and bonding with humans and other animals as humans do with other humans.

"That animals of different species induce oxytocin release in each other suggests that they, like us, may be capable of love," said Professor Paul Zak. "It is quite possible that Fido and Boots may feel the same way about you as you do about them. You can even call it love."

Source: Independent | Comments (26)

Tags: Dog, Pet

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #17 Posted by MJNYC on 28 April, 2014, 14:20
This scientific finding has been known to all dog/cat/horse/ whatever guardian since the beginning of time. Thanks for the confirmation! LOL
Comment icon #18 Posted by Rogue Suga on 29 April, 2014, 2:50
Of course! Dogs and humans have been friends for thousands of years. The researchers spend too long in bed!
Comment icon #19 Posted by qxcontinuum on 29 April, 2014, 5:09
As they always do.
Comment icon #20 Posted by woopypooky on 29 April, 2014, 10:38
Those people never own dogs or what? As if nobody knows. Pets know jealousy too.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Frank Merton on 29 April, 2014, 10:56
Our pets are sentient beings, meaning that they "experience" their lives much as we do, through sensations and emotions and even opinions and thoughts. Where sentience comes from is unknown and materialist approaches do not seem to succeed very well, although I offer no theory of my own either.
Comment icon #22 Posted by cenobite on 29 April, 2014, 12:41
Surely anyone who has a pet already knows this, my dog goes mad exited when I come from work, he jumps up for a hug and a belly rub, I know it's not because he associates me with food because my wife always feeds him not me, I love him and he loves me
Comment icon #23 Posted by EllJay on 29 April, 2014, 22:17
Yeah, a big Duuuh to that. I hardly think this dog was just hungry - it is pure
Comment icon #24 Posted by Asadora on 30 April, 2014, 0:11
Our animals give us one thing that we fail to give each other as Humans: They give us unconditional love. They do not judge us based on our appearance. They do not expect from us more than we can give them. They remind us what true love is and they help us to grieve. Science explains how animals 'evolved'. Which of course one can take that as they will. But for me, our animals are the truest gift of Divinity as they are a constant reminder of what it is to -be- Human. And to be Human is to have the need to feel loved and to be accepted for what we are, without that humanity is a folly... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by highdesert50 on 30 April, 2014, 9:07
Are we making this more complex than necessary. The social unit of a dog is the pack and they typically c
Comment icon #26 Posted by Asadora on 30 April, 2014, 22:34
No we aren't. Thanks for asking though!

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