Dogs cry with joy when reunited with their owners

Scientists measured the amount of tears a dog produces after meeting its owner and concluded that these pets also produce tears in situations of joy, according to a study released Monday.

For the researchers, tail wagging, jumping and licking — behaviors dog owners commonly experience when reunited with their pet after a long period of separation — add a more discreet signal to the list: tears.

“We have never heard of animals that shed tears in happy situations, such as when they meet their owner”, stressed one of the authors of the work, Takefumi Kikusui, from Azabu University, in Japan, who defended that the study is ” the first in the world” on this subject.

The scientists measured the amount of tears produced using a widely known Schirmer test, which involves placing a strip under the eyelid, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology.

As a point of comparison, a high baseline level of tears was established when the dog was in its usual environment, in the presence of its owner.

After five to seven hours of separation, the number of tears increased “significantly” five minutes after the dog was reunited with its owner.

Tear volume was also higher when the dog was reunited with its owner rather than another person.

For researchers, this production of tears is related to the presence of oxytocin, known as the “hormone of love”.

The scientists also tried to understand what practical role these reactions might play.

To do this, pet owners had to rate the photos of their dog, indicating how much they made them want to care for them.

“Dogs showing cloudy eyes during their interactions with their owner may lead to more care being taken by the owner,” Takefumi Kikusui said.

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In humans, crying babies make parents pay more attention to them, the researchers added.

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 now intend to study whether dogs also produce tears when they meet other animals of their species.

Source: TSF

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