Science officially proved the power of the puppy dog eyes.
According to studies conducted by researchers from three Japanese universities, maintaining eye contact with your beloved pooch actually boosts the production of a hormone called oxytocin -- the chemical that promotes bonding and those all-important good vibes.
It's the same hormone “passed” between mother and child when they lock eyes and, for this reason, it's known as the “love hormone.”
While dogs have the ability to essentially win us over via this chemical reaction, humans do not respond the same way to wolves, even if the wolves are domesticated.
This suggests dogs developed the ability to trigger oxytocin around the same time they began evolving from wolves, approximately 30,000 years ago.
Adorably, the dogs also experience this surge in oxytocin, and that means they love us!
Cats, on the other hand, probably feel no emotion (besides possibly hatred) when they look at us.
In the research journal Science, the researchers wrote,
Gaze plays an important role in human communication... Gaze not only facilitates the understand of another's intention but also the establishment of affiliative relationships with others.
It's unclear why or how this development arose, however, researcher Miho Nagasawa hypothesizes dogs and humans “may have independently acquired tolerance of one another because of alterations in neural systems that mediate affiliation.”
These findings will help researchers further understand the mechanisms behind how therapy dogs affect patients, and how animals, in general, affect humans.
So the next time you're with your pup, stare into his eyes for those lovin' feels.