VCA Animal Hospitals

Experiment proves dog and man connect at heart level

Published: Jul 25, 2012

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Many pet owners can feel the love in their heart when they spend time with their canine companion, and as it turns out, the hearts of man and dog actually beat in sync. When two humans feel love and care for each other, their hearts literally beat together - a phenomenon called entrainment. Dr. Rollin McCraty, the director of research at the Institute of HeartMath, wanted to find out whether this also happens with humans and their beloved dogs, reports.

In an experiment with his son, Josh, 14, and the family dog, Mabel, 15, McCraty measured the heart rhythms of the two using electrodes that he attached to both participants. In the experiment, Josh entered a room where Mabel was waiting, sat down and consciously sent feelings of love and care toward Mabel, then left the room.

When Josh entered the room and gave loving attention to Mabel, his heart rate lowered and its rhythms became more ordered. This seems to have influenced Mabel's as well - her rhythms followed this same pattern, becoming more coherent and in sync with Josh's. When Josh left the room, Mabel's heart rhythms became chaotic and disordered, suggesting mild separation anxiety.

While there is still no way to truly measure love and emotion scientifically, particularly between species, McCraty's experiment was certainly telling of the positive effect humans and pets can have on each other's feelings of wellbeing.

This bond is clear when owners spend time with a pet, but this experiment may also explain the extreme grief many people experience after pet loss. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, grief over the loss of a dog or cat can embarrass and confuse many people, but they are understandable and normal emotions for anyone experiencing the loss of a loved one, whether human or not. 


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.