Neurophysiological correlates of affiliative behaviour between humans and dogs

Vet J. 2003 May;165(3):296-301. doi: 10.1016/s1090-0233(02)00237-x.


Few physiological parameters for positive human-companion animal contact have been identified and those that are established have all been in humans. The implication is that if the physiological reactions are mutual, dogs would experience the same psychological benefits from these neurophysiological changes as humans. Therefore, we have determined the role of certain neurochemicals during affiliation behaviour on an interspecies basis. Our results indicate that concentrations of beta-endorphin, oxytocin, prolactin, beta-phenylethylamine, and dopamine increased in both species after positive interspecies interaction, while that of cortisol decreased in the humans only. Indicators of mutual physiological changes during positive interaction between dog lovers and dogs may contribute to a better understanding of the human-animal bond in veterinary practice.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Animals
  • Dogs*
  • Dopamine / blood
  • Female
  • Human-Animal Bond*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxytocin / blood
  • Phenethylamines / blood
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Stress, Psychological
  • beta-Endorphin / blood


  • Phenethylamines
  • phenethylamine
  • Oxytocin
  • beta-Endorphin
  • Prolactin
  • Dopamine