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Puppy dog eyes may be the look of love

Tuesday April 21st 2015

Gazing into your dog's eyes triggers happy feelings in both you and your pet, research reveals.

Scientists at Azabu University in Japan claim that when an owner looks their pet in the eye it can lead to an increase in oxytocin - a hormone that helps to produce feelings of love - much like when a mother looks at her baby.

The study, published in the journal Science, suggests pooches are trying to convey affection when they look at us with those puppy dog eyes, instead of simply trying to get a treat, as some of us may think.

It consisted of two experiments. The first involved researchers collecting urine from a group of dogs and their owners before and after a 30-minute interaction, while the second involved spraying oxytocin into the noses of a group of dogs.

Dogs and their owners who gazed at each other the most experienced the biggest surge of oxytocin in their urine, plus female dogs stared longer at their owners after having oxytocin sprayed into their noses.

Researchers claim the findings highlight the benefits of gazing at your pet, rather than telling it what to do.

Copyright Press Association 2015