February, the month of Love, a time to say how much you love your loved ones, including our dogs. Loving our dogs does come so easily, they’re always there for you, they’re loyal, their love is unconditional, but do you ever ask yourself “I wonder if they feel loved!”? Ok, yes, they wag their tail when you return home, they’re always excited to get their food and so happy to go on their walks, all responses towards a positive action… but do they think emotionally? Some dog trainers will tell you to never associate human behaviours with your dog, in some instances this is true, but what about their emotions, can they feel loved?
Well the good news is that over the 40,000 years that dogs have become domesticated, we have just recently started to fully understand what our dogs really do think and feel! All through science, and as a science geek I'm pleased to say that the research into our pet dogs has grown and the depth of information being gathered is quite honestly remarkable.
An area of particular interest to me is the bond that we have with these incredible animals. For thousands of years our relationship has seen dogs hunting with us, protecting our land, warning us of danger and brought us so much comfort. It’s been proven that dogs and humans are biologically similar, this is because both species are ultimately driven by their emotional responses. Scientists have also proven that whilst we benefit from stroking our dogs, that in fact the dog has the same response, we both release a hormone called Oxytocin, a powerful bonding hormone that affects both you and your dog. This is the same bonding hormone released by mothers while nursing their babies. With the release of Oxytocin this interaction has powerful physiological impact on both you and your dog. There will be feelings of love and attachment, while lowering blood pressure and heart rate, soothing pain and evening lessening stress.
So in answer to the question, “I wonder if they feel loved” the answer is scientifically proven that yes, through the power of touch we can bond and share our love with each other. Happy Valentines from