Dogs cry with joy when they find their owner, study shows

But to this list of highly demonstrative behaviors there is also a more discreet sign. Dogs also produce tears when reunited with their owners, researchers showed in a study published Monday in the journal Current biology.

We had never heard of pets shedding tears in happy situations, like reuniting with their owner.“said in a press release one of the authors of the study, Takefumi Kikusui of Azabu University in Japan, referring to a probable”world premiere“.

Scientists measured the amount of tears produced using a very dangerous test, the Schirmer test (consisting of a strip placed under the eyelid). They took as a point of comparison a basic level raised when the dog reveals itself in its usual environment, in the presence of its owner.

After five to seven hours of separation, the amount of tears increased”significantly“Within five minutes of the dog reuniting with its handler. The volume of tears was also higher when the dog was reuniting with its handler, rather than another person.

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love hormone

According to the researchers, this tear production is linked to the presence of oxytocin, nicknamed the “love hormone“.

They also sought to understand what practical role these effusions might play. For this, owners were asked to rank photos of their dog indicating how much they made you want to take care of him.

Photos where artificial tears had been administered to the animal were classified”significantlyhigher, according to the study.Dogs that exhibit misty eyes during interactions with their owner may lead the owner to care for them more.“, argued Takefumi Kikusui. In humans, infants crying cause parents to pay more attention to them, points out the study.

Dogs, domesticated like no other animal, have developed specific communication skills over time. Eye contact has been shown to play a role in forming the relationship between a dog and its handler.

The researchers would then like to study whether the dogs also produced tears when they met other conspecifics.

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