Science Shows Similar Love Between Moms and Their Babies, Dogs

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Photo by Kevin Lowery |

Many people describe their dogs as their 'kids.' But a new scientific study out of the Massachusetts General Hospital for Comparative Medicine showed early signs that mothers feel a similar bond with their dogs as the bond they feel with their babies.

The new study used fMRI imaging to scan the brains of mothers as they looked at pictures of their dogs and their children. The scans showed that the same areas of the brain were activated when looking at both their dogs and their children. This included reward centers in the brain.

The study was intended to be a first step into understanding how and why dogs can have such a profound impact on a person's physical and mental health. Veterinary director Lori Palley wanted to really understand what goes on neurologically when people are exposed to dogs.

While the study results don't mean that mothers love their pets as much as they love their babies, it is an important first step into understanding the science behind the human-dog bond.

The study did find some interesting differences between how the mothers' brains reacted to dogs and babies. One region of the brain that is associated with bonding was only activated by the photo of the child. On the other hand, another brain center associated with facial recognition was more activated with the photo of the dog.

Read more. 

Do you think you love your pets as much as your children?


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4 thoughts on “Science Shows Similar Love Between Moms and Their Babies, Dogs

  1. KameleonKarma

    No, I'm sorry, I don't. I love my dog and all the dogs I have had in my life, but humans, and especially my biological children, are loved much more and in a different way. I would "take a bullet" for my kids as they say, not so for my dog. Call me callous if you like, but there is a distinction for me between animals and humans. I am a huge animal lover and wanted to become a vet when younger. I am still told by friends who see me interact with my dog and other animals that I should train as I have a "special connection" with them. I am not sure I do, but I respect them, that much is true and never treat them with cruelty. I also find myself feeling contempt for those owners who overfeed and give "human food" to dogs and who dress them up. It just seems wrong to me.

  2. Stacie Young

    Definately agree. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my furbaby. I love him like my own son, he is purely my world as is my human soon. I would kill for my dog!

  3. April Khan

    I'm not a mother yet so I can't make the comparison but little Misha is my baby boy - just thinking about him makes me all warm and happy. I would go to any legnths I'm capable of to protect him. I make sure to treat him as a dog for his own sake but that doesn't mean he isn't a loved family member who gets all the cuddles and love 🙂

  4. KameleonKarma

    Wow...beyond speechless...I'm sorry you don't seem to read and interpret the English written language very well. Your distortion of my words is incredibly off. Have a nice day. 😉

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