Do You Love Your Dog Like a Child?

By January 23 | See Comments

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Do You Love Your Dog Like a Child?

Most pet owners simply love their dogs, but how does that love stack up to, say, the love for a child? Have you ever thought about how love is mapped out in your brain? A recent scientific study published in the journal PLOS? ONE found that the brain's response to dogs is similar to that of young children to many mothers.The researchers took women who had young children and dogs and showed them pictures of each while they used an fMRI to measure the brain's reactions. The results were similar between the two, activating the same part of the brain, showing that mothers have similar feelings about their dogs and their children.Mallika Marshall, M.D., a reporter for Boston's WBEZ news station, went out into the community to ask pet parents if the study, which was led by Massachusetts General Hospital Veterinarian Lori Palley, checked out. She found that many of the women she talked to expressed complete love and affection for their dogs.

It makes sense that pet parents are having similar feelings for children as they are with their dogs - both are dependent on you for protection and both are easy to love. The bond between a mother and her child and an owner and her dog stem from a similar need to care for another.Although the brain didn't react exactly the same with dogs as with babies, Palley told Marshall that the similarities were significant and that more research could be done to better understand the connection.

Show your dog you love them 

There are many ways that you can prove to your pooch that they're the love of your life. Here are a few suggestions to give them a quick reminder.

  • Treat them like dogs - Although pampering your pooch can be fun, Cesar's Way reminded pet parents to treat their dogs like dogs sometimes. Exercise, discipline, and letting them interact with other dogs can make your dog feel more comfortable and, though it may not seem like it, show how much you love them.
  • Go for a long walk - At the end of the day, it can be difficult to make yourself go out for anything but a quick jaunt around the block. Just remember that this might be the thrill of your dog's day. Walking isn't just about exercise. It's your dog's way of interacting with the world around them, your neighborhood and other nearby dogs.
  • Use preventative medication - Whether it's Heartgard Plus or K9 Advantix II, protecting your dog from parasites and disease can be the ultimate display of affection.
  • Give 'em a belly rub - When in doubt, lie down on the floor with your pooch and rub away. Your dog will love the attention and the sensation.

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