With Valentine’s Day just around the corner it’s a perfect time to talk about the power in a hug. Have you ever heard of the hormone oxytocin? Humans crave physical attention from the time they are born. In fact almost all mammals at some point literally need physical contact to establish healthy bonds. All mammals produce and release a feel good hormone called oxytocin. The release of this hormone is easily stimulated through physical touch and eye contact. This hormone called oxytocin is one of the dominant factors in the creation of Man’s Best Friend. When you pat and hug your dog there is a hormonal release of oxytocin, the love drug. This hormone creates a euphoric response, one that is craved over and over again. So, Have you hugged your dog today?
Some research shows that oxytocin is a leading factor in Pet Therapy, the new age therapeutic treatment using animals to heal. Which really isn’t a new concept just a newly practiced therapy that intentionally puts the healing power of physical contact with animals into a practice of oxytocin release. Humans have enjoyed the companionship of animals, especially dogs for thousands of years.
Throughout these evolutionary years of loving dogs, oxytocin hormone release has escalated changing the wild dog into man’s best friend. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone that is found in lower doses in wild dogs and in higher levels in domestic dogs. This explains the way a dog in the wild will not approach you for a pat on the head while Rufus will literally climb a mountain to get a hug. Wild dog breeds do product oxytocin, just in smaller amounts than domestic dogs.
The love hormone is more than just a feel good response. This hormone plays more important roles in mammal biology. You see, the love hormone is one of many key factors in a pups survival. Yes, a puppy will look for it’s mother when it’s hungry but it’s also looking for the euphoric high of the oxytocin hormone, nature’s bonding mechanism. When oxytocin is deficient in animals there may be a lack of bonding which results in insufficient nursing patterns. This deficiency can go both ways. If the mother of a litter is deficient in oxytocin she may ignore her pups, likewise if a puppy is deficient they may not feed enough.
Oxytocin is released into the dogs physical body creating a euphoric high of sorts, and you thought your dog just missed you? Well, I’m sure he did but a little oxytocin sure feels good, so have you hugged your dog today? It’s beneficial to you both to do so. Don’t forget, it goes both ways. You release the same hormone through touch and eye contact as well, a little love goes a long way. So makes sure to get a daily dose of the love drug oxytocin everyday, it’s free, it’s healthy, and it’s all natural.
For more interesting stories and helpful tips about Man’s Best Friend visit The Beach Dog Doggie Daycare blog page.