Apparently, Our Dogs Cry When We Come Home, Study Suggests
Maybe this is why it's so hard to leave them behind. If those wagging tails and loving licks weren't enough to make us stay, this probably will: A new study recently came out and concluded that dogs cry tears of joy when they're reunited with their owners after a prolonged periods of separation.
Entitled "Increase of tear volume in dogs after reunion with owners is mediated by oxytocin," the study shows the relation between dogs, tears, and human care.
According to Takefumi Kikusui, who works at the Laboratory of Human-Animal Interaction and Reciprocity at Azabu University in Japan and the co-author of the paper, the dogs they surveyed were found to have "shed tears associated with positive emotions."
The researcher wrote in a statement: "Dogs have become a partner of humans. And we can form bonds."
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This is due to the discovery of oxytocin, which refers to the hormone in people that is referred to as the love or maternal hormone.
The study brought on 22 dogs for good measure. It utilized what is known as the "Schirmer Tear Test." This involves placing a paper strip inside the dog's eyelids for a minute before and after they see their owners following about five to seven hours of absence.
"We had never heard of the discovery that animals shed tears in joyful situations, such as reuniting with their owners," said Kikusui of the findings.
Owners were found to have had more desire to take care of their pets when they saw tears in these animals' eyes. "Their tears might play a role in the deepening of mutual relationships and further leading to interspecies bonding," the researchers wrote.
The study can be found in the Current Biology journal.