It has been known for quite some time that owning a dog significantly extends the human lifespan. Studies have shown that dog ownership promotes a 33% less chance of premature death when compared to individuals who don’t have a canine friend. Recently, we’ve found that human affection and interaction has a dramatic impact on the health of dogs as well. Not only are dogs now shown to positively react when in contact with their owners, but there is now scientific evidence to support that our smiles directly contribute to their health and happiness.
A study that was conducted by the Canine Mind Project gathered several dogs and showed them pictures of both smiling and frowning humans. The study was lead by Professor Outi Vainio, a veterinary specialist in Europe whose primary concentrations are pharmacology and toxicology. Researchers set out to measure the pupil dilation of the canines in question when they were met with photographs of humans displaying happiness and anger. When shown the images of angry frowns, the dogs unsurprisingly reacted in a negative manner feeling stressed and threatened. Then, when they were shown images of humans smiling after being given Oxytocin, something amazing happened.
When the dogs were presented with images of humans smiling, their pupils dilated to a noticeably larger measurement. This act of pupil dilation shows that they were positively impacted when they were showed the human emotion of happiness. The direct correlation between positive human emotions and positive canine response illustrates how having a happy owner can provide a dog with a more fulfilling and healthy life. A dog that leads a lifestyle that is more prominent in health and happiness is a good indicator that their lifespan will be more extensive than canines that are not met with this particular human benefit.
It is quite reassuring that science can now prove that we are naturally rewarding our beloved dogs as much as they reward us with their presence. Now we can rest assured that our dogs will have much more vibrant lives just by sensing our own happiness when we are near them. Knowing that the companionship between a human and a dog benefits both parties in such an equally dramatic manner is simply a wonderful thing.