People will go to great lengths to show their love and gratitude for others during Valentine’s Day. We send bouquets of roses, red-enveloped valentines and boxes of chocolates to let loved ones know we care. Just like our favorite people, we share love and gratitude for our pets. But do they feel the same way about us?
It turns out they do! A study in the journal Science showed that when humans and their dogs look into each other’s eyes, both get a spike in oxytocin, the same hormone that makes couples so attached and plays a role in mother-child bonding.
Researchers found that owners whose dogs stared at them the longest had higher levels of oxytocin. What’s even crazier is that oxytocin levels of owners and their dogs were correlated: If an owner had higher levels of the hormone, so did their dog!
But if you’ve ever owned a dog, you knew this already. There’s nothing like coming home to a four-legged friend that’s excited to see you. And while they enjoy a special treat or new toy once in a while, they won’t be upset if you forget to buy them flowers on Valentine’s Day. Now that’s some unconditional love.