Oxytocin: Why We’re Addicted to Dogs

Dogs: man’s best friend. But why is that? What is it that makes humans and dogs click so well? Turns out, it’s something called oxytocin.

Oxytocin: We’re Addicted to Dogs

Brian Hare, author of The Genius of Dogs, did a series of podcasts with Purina. In one, he interviewed Sue Carter, director of the Kensey Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Carter talked about a chemical in our brains called oxytocin. It releases when we have positive interactions with other humans, especially babies. It’s nature’s way of rewarding us for being kind to one another. And it’s similar to the effects of a drug. It’s addictive. So the more you’re a caring human, the more you want to be a caring human.

All mammals have this chemical or something similar. It promotes social behavior. It helps ensure species survival—take care of your own.

But through testing, Even McClain, an assistant professor in the school of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, shared that researchers had figured out that between humans and dogs, oxytocin crosses species lines. It’s actually highly unusual for an interspecies relationship to have this effect. But dogs have found a way to hijack our oxytocin release.

When dogs and their owners spend more time together and make more eye contact, it releases oxytocin in both the human and the dog. In other words, spending quality time with your dog is literally addictive. Looking at your dog is like a drug.

Increase the Bond

Since quality time with our dogs is so neurologically rewarding, it benefits us to find more fun things to do with them. When I read my dogs their very own customized books, they get very excited! That’s because they’re hearing my voice, I’m making eye contact, and they understand what I’m saying. Oxytocin is flowing!

So get some oxytocin for you and your pup by ordering a customized book your dog will understand. You’ll both love the quality time together! Check it out here.