Dog Kisses are More Than Just Slobber

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You can find real chemistry between dogs and their owners. From a simple kiss to a long, loving gaze, daily interactions with dogs are responsible for altering people’s biochemistry for the better.

Oxytocin is a unusual little molecule. It’s referred to as the “hug hormone” due to the fact it’s what makes you feel great whenever you’re touched by a cherished one, get a massage or appreciate a good meal. Oxytocin as well has pain-relieving properties and may reduce stress and blood pressure.

Here’s a short montage of our favorite breed, boxers, sharing kisses with some of their favorite people and friends:

Individuals experience oxytocin in numerous social relationships, which includes bonding with children or partners. What is amazing is that people will likewise experience a change in this hormone whenever bonding with a entirely different species.

Miho Nagasawa of Azabu University in Japan and colleagues carried out a research with 55 dogs and their owners. People whose dogs gazed at them for 2 minutes or longer (23% of dogs) revealed a higher increase in oxytocin than people whose dogs gazed at them for less time. People with dogs with a long gaze as well described being more happy with their dogs than those people whose dog’s gaze was just around a minute long.

In some other research by Linda Handlin and colleagues from the University of Skövde in Sweden, owners who kissed their dogs the most often had higher levels of oxytocin than other owners.

Handlin discovered that together with kissing, there were 2 additional factors that predicted the higher levels of oxytocin – the first was that the owners were more likely to see their relationship with their dog as pleasurable (i.e., they didn’t consider that taking care of their dog was hard or a task). The second was a lower frequency in giving treats, demonstrating that the way to true love isn’t necessarily through a dog’s stomach.

In a different study by Johannes Odendaal and colleagues from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, owners were put in a room that was empty except for 2 tables and chairs. The owners sat on a rug on the floor with their dogs and a nurse drew their blood. For the following 30 minutes, each owner’s attention was entirely centered on his or her dog. They talked gently to their dogs, stroked them softly and scratched their bodies and behind their ears. The participants’ blood was drawn again after Half an hour.

The scientists discovered that participants’ blood pressure diminished, and they experienced a growth in not only oxytocin, but as well a whole other range of hormones, including beta-endorphins, which are connected with euphoria and pain relief; prolactin, which promotes bonding linked to parenting behavior; phenylethylamine, which has a tendency to raise whenever people find a romantic partner; and dopamine, which increases enjoyable sensations.

When each dog owner came in and read a book for 30 minutes, oxytocin and the other hormones didn’t increase just as much as they did during interactions with their dog. What is a lot more extraordinary is that not only did humans experience an increase in these hormones – the dogs did, as well. It appears the feelings of bonding and affiliation are completely mutual.

Humanity’s relationship with dogs is so remarkable that it has an effect on humans’ very biochemistry. Science is just commencing to understand the mechanisms of this relationship, and the implications will maintain cognitive psychologists occupied for many years into the future. However for those who simply need a little something to lift their mood, try a meaningful gaze, or even a kiss, with your best friend. 🙂

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