Canine Cottages did a study that showed dogs’ heart rates increased on average by 46% when their owners utter the words “I love you” to their furbabies.
The experiment involved four puppies that were fitted with special heart rate tracking collars to show what gets them excited when interacting with their owners.
In the one week experiment, the pups were observed to have an average resting heart rate of 67 beats per minute (bpm). When their owners told their pets “I love you,” heart rates would spike to an average of 98 bpm. The dogs also showed relaxation in the form of a decrease in heart rate, 23 percent to about 57 bpm, when they cuddled with their owners.
Campaign manager at UK-based Canine Cottages Shannon Keary said to People, “It’s amazing to see that our dogs’ heart rate increases when they are told they are loved, showing excitement, and decreases when having cuddles, showing contentedness.”
Although the study’s small sample size may seem insufficient, many dog owners say that their dogs understand what they’re saying, and are capable of receiving, appreciating, and expressing their love.
The study also highlighted the ways your dog can express their love for you. These include:
- Curling up next to its owner, at their feet or on their lap – as dogs only do this with people they feel comfortable with.
- Bringing you one of their toys – which shows they trust you enough to play with them.
- Showing you their belly, or sleeping on their back with their chest up – as this is a vulnerable position for dogs.
- Destroying your objects – if they do this when they’re home alone or missing you, it’s a sign of love. Chewing also releases endorphins that help the dog to relax.
As part of their study, owners were also documented experiencing an increase of blood pressure of around 10% when owners see their dogs, which isn’t surprising, as the physical and mental benefits of pet ownership have been well-documented. Research has found that petting a dog releases oxytocin—sometimes called the “love hormone”—because it is released when people feel good and bond socially with other humans.
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