The unconditional love between dogs and their owners is undeniable.
Let's face it. You can't ever stay mad at your furry companion.
A dog's uncontrollable tail in response to the pure joy of seeing its master returning from a day at work may knock over a few things, but you laugh it off.
A happy pup may try to conceal its guilt after destroying your precious goose-down comforter. And even though an incriminating stray feather floats gently back down on your adorable culprit's wet nose, your gritted teeth loosen their grip.
The unconditional love is powerful.
But while that innate bond is already understood, a new study claims it can prove that you're in love with your dog.
And the feeling is mutual.
The research was conducted in two parts by Japanese universities and was published in the journal Science.
Researchers observed the interaction of 30 dogs and their owners and measured their respective levels of hormone oxytocin.
This "bonding hormone" is released during moments of human intimacy, including sex and between a mother and her child.
The study showed that the same hormone also applies when you gaze into the eyes of your dog.
But does the level of oxytocin determine how long a dog locks eyes with you?
That's what researchers aimed to find out in the second phase. Turns out the longer your dog gets lost in your eyes determines just how much it freaking adores you.
They administered oxytocin to a new group of dogs and observed the duration of their gazes with owners.
Curiously, results also showed that the female dogs administered with oxytocin exhibited a longer gaze with their owners than the male counterparts with their masters.
The study confirmed Miho Nagasawa and her team's observation:
"They found that mutual gazing increased oxytocin levels, and sniffing oxytocin increased gazing in dogs, an effect that transferred to their owners."
Then they tried the gazing experiment with wolves.
"Wolves, who rarely engage in eye contact with their human handlers, seem resistant to this effect."
People are sharing tips on how to boost your oxytocin levels.
Get a dog!
No wonder dogs make great emotional support pets.
If you're not a dog owner already, you're missing out.
Have you told your dog how much you love them lately?