As if we needed a reason to love them more.
If you’ve ever felt that your dog looks emotional when you come home to them, you might actually be on to something.
A recent study published in Current Biology found that our furry friends actually tear up with happiness when they are reunited with their owners.
Professor Takefumi from Azabu University in Japan was inspired to conduct the research after noticing that his own poodle appeared to cry whenever they were reunited.
As Metro reports, Takefumi discovered that dogs’ eyes tend to be more teary when they reunite with their owners. As a control, they studied the tear levels in their eyes when they meet strangers for the first time, and found that in these instances, they were much less teary.
Additionally, the researchers added oxytocin – the happy hormone – to the dogs‘ eyes, and found that this made their eyes water. This aligned with their theory that the reason the dogs were crying was due to happiness.
Elsewhere in the research, humans were asked to rate pictures of dogs. In the images, some of the dogs were crying ‘happy tears’ after being reunited with their owners, while in other pictures, the tears were added artificially. The human participants gravitated towards the images where the dogs were crying happy tears, which points to the emotional connection humans can form with animals.
Speaking on the findings, Professor Takefumi said: “We had never heard of the discovery that animals shed tears in joyful situations, such as reuniting with their owners, and we were all excited that this would be a world first.
“Dogs have become a partner of humans, and we can form bonds. In this process, it is possible that the dogs that show teary eyes during interaction with the owner would be cared for by the owner more.”