Oxytocin and Pets.
July 19, 2013 9:28 AM Subscribe
Is the hormone oxytocin released in the human brain when you interact with any pet, or does this only occur with cats and dogs?
posted by Flood to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
In the past few years, scientists have discovered that the hormone oxytocin is released in our brain (and in our dog's and cat's brains) when we pet our pets? This hormone is responsible for the social bonding that occurs between pets and pet-owners. And, this also helps to explain the therapeutic value of pets.
I have seen some things about horse back riding too, therapeutic riding. Is oxytocin released in our brain when we ride a horse? Is it released in the horse's brain?
What about rabbits? Is oxytocin released in the human brain when you pet a rabbit? Is it released in the rabbit's brain? If it is not released in our brain when petting rabbits, then is there no therapeutic value to petting a rabbit?
How far does the oxytocin thing go with pets? What about parakeets? Hamsters?
I have a limited science background, so please excuse any ambiguity in the question. I am trying to understand the therapeutic value of pets, and wondering what types of pets this applies to. Thank you for any information you can give me to clarify my understanding.