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Dogs cry when they find their owner, study finds

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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.

The scientists measured the amount of tears produced using a widely used test, the Schirmer test (consisting of a strip placed under the eyelid). They took as a point of comparison a base level raised when the dog was 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 reuniting the dog with its master.

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The volume of tears was also higher when the dog was reunited with its master, rather than another person.

love hormone

According to the researchers, this production of tears is linked to the presence of oxytocin, nicknamed thelove 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 them want to take care of him.

Photos where artificial tears were administered to the animal were filed significantly higher, according to the study.

It’s possible that dogs who exhibit misty eyes during their interactions with their owner may cause the owner to care for them more. »

A quote from Takefumi Kikusui, Azabu University

In humans, infants crying cause parents to pay more attention to them, the study points out.

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 dogs also produce tears when they find other conspecifics.

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