Dogs rule. They love us exponentially more than cats do. Science proves it. There’s a reason they call dogs man’s best friend — there’s nothing quite like the feeling of having your pup wait for you to come home, and then shower you with affection and excitement the moment you walk in the door. Cats just never seem to match up. Sure, they’re more than capable of showing you some love, but does a cat always seem to lose its cool just because you’re in the same room as it?
Well, it turns out that science is finally agreeing with a theory that deep down, we’ve all known: Dogs love us more than cats. Thanks to new research conducted for BBC’s latest documentary, Cats vs. Dogs, there is finally evidence to support your dog’s eternal devotion. To find out just how much either pet cares about you, researchers decided to test levels of Oxytocin, better known as the “love” and “bonding” hormone, in cats and dogs before and after they saw their owners. The researchers had 10 cats and 10 dogs give saliva samples to them before seeing their owners, and then released them for some play time. Once play time was up, the researchers took saliva samples again to see how hormone levels had changed.
The results were pretty astonishing. Contrary to the beliefs of some dog people, cats definitely love their owners. Comparing the two samples, the researchers found that Oxytocin levels went up 12 percent after a cat played with its owner.
But that’s nothing compared to how dogs love us. When the dogs came back from a good belly rub from their owners, their levels of Oxytocin went up a staggering 57.2 percent. According to neuroscientist, Dr. Paul Zak, this is pretty significant. “From this sample it’s true to say that these dogs love their owners five times more than cats do,” he said.
What’s more, Zak noted, was that dogs may even love humans more than humans love each other. In past research, Zak found that humans who see a spouse or a child typically have a 40 to 60 percent increase of Oxytocin in their blood. So the next time anyone ever tells you that dogs have no concept of human emotion, especially love, you can throw this fact at them: dogs are better at love than we are.
This study illuminates the need for higher and more frequent levels of Oxytocin in our lives. Oxytocin leads to a reduction in stress cortisols which is a highly desirable outcome if we want to live more fulfilling, loving, passionate lives. The best course of action is to find ways to trigger Oxytocin release. The best methods are through social interaction with those folks whom we have a deeply connected relationship with. If you don’t have that type of relationship with another person, then a dog will do in a pinch…