TUESDAY, Aug. 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Humans and dogs undoubtedly share a strong bond, but can dogs cry when overcome by emotion?
According to A a recent studyperhaps the first to try to answer this question, the eyes of dogs do well up with tears, most often when they meet their beloved master.
“We found that dogs shed tears associated with positive emotions,” said Takefumi Kikusui of Azabu University in Japan. “We also made a discovery Oxytocin as a possible mechanism underlying it.’
After giving birth to one of two Standard Poodles six years ago, Kikusui noticed something changed in his dog’s face while the dog was feeding the puppies; there were tears. Although dogs don’t produce tears as often as humans, dogs can have watery eyes.
“That gave me the idea that oxytocin could increase tears,” Kikusui added.
Kikusui explained that oxytocin is known as the maternal hormone or the “love hormone.” In addition, the researchers knew that during interaction, oxytocin is released in both dogs and their owners. So they decided to test whether the reunion could make dogs cry.
Before being reunited with their owners, the dogs were given a standard test to determine how much they cried. When the dogs reconnected with a familiar person rather than a stranger, their tears actually increased.
The amount of tears the dogs produced also increased when they were given oxytocin in their eyes. This supports the hypothesis that the release of oxytocin promotes the production of tears when humans and their dogs are reunited, the study authors noted.
Additionally, the researchers asked participants to rate images of dogs’ faces with and without tears, and found that participants responded more favorably to images of dogs with teary eyes. These results suggest that dog tears help develop deeper bonds between owners and their canine companions.
Kikusui said that the findings published on August 22 in the journal Modern biologywas a surprise.
“We had never heard of the discovery that animals shed tears in joyful situations, such as being reunited with their owners, and we were all excited that this would be a world first,” he said in the journal’s press release.
In this case, dogs seem to cry in circumstances that humans would consider “happy”. It has not yet been researched whether dogs cry when experiencing negative emotions. Scientists also don’t yet know if dogs cry when they come home to other dogs.
“Dogs have become partners with humans and we can make connections,” Kikusui said. “In this process, it is possible that dogs that show teary eyes when interacting with their owner will care more for their owner.”
National Public Radio is more dogs are man’s best friends.
SOURCE: Modern biologyAugust 22, 2022 news release