I think all dog owners can agree that when we leave our beloved furry friends home alone, we miss them while we are gone! However, is this a feeling mutual? Is the happy dance we see from our dogs really a sign they missed us too? Well, we may never know for sure until our pets can talk to us... but we have a pretty good idea of how our pets react when we are gone.
To no surprise, humans have the ability to love, just like humans. A study done in 2015 by scientist Gregory Burns looked at the brainwaves and behaviors of dogs, putting them through an MRI while they faced different scents. When the dogs smelled the scent of their loving owner, the part of the brain involved in positive expectations and rewards was activated. When they smelled other dogs, someone they were familiar with but didn't live with, or someone they didn't recognize, they didn't have the same outcome.
In another study, scientists looked at how dogs behaviors changed from person to person, from owners to complete strangers. The results showed dogs always preferred their owners, even over other people they were familiar with. The dogs even seemed to wait behind the door their owners went through, but not the door of someone else they knew.
And what about their perception of time? A study in Applied Animal Behaviour Science showed that the longer you're away, the more your pooch misses you. Researchers found the effect of time left alone was actually visible from how the dogs greeted their owners after certain time spans. 2 hours left alone resulted in much more enthusiastic greetings than did 30 minutes.
Although our dogs can't tell us how much they missed us, you can be confident they definitely miss you just as much as you miss them when you are gone! However, there is one thing we know dogs do NOT miss- fleas. Make sure to give your pup it's daily dose of flea away so we never have to miss the feeling of being flea free!