It’s no secret that people love their dogs. And why wouldn’t they? Dogs bring us joy. They make us laugh out loud. They are perfectly happy being our playmates, our nap buddies, our sounding boards—anything we ask, as long as they get to be by our sides. Their unconditional love and companionship can’t be matched.

It should come as no surprise then that studies show people love their pets in much the same way they do their families. Specifically, researchers have found that when dogs and owners gaze into each other’s eyes, the hormone oxytocin spikes in the person’s brain. This hormone plays a part in triggering feelings of unconditional love, similar to the feelings a parent has when looking at their child. It turns out, the feeling is mutual. The study showed that the same hormone spikes in the brain of your dog as well. So, next time you lock eyes with your pup, know that they are reciprocating those loving feelings when they stare back at you.

Gazing, though, is just one indicator that your dog loves you. WISDOM HEALTH’s own Dr. Angela Hughes recently contributed to an article in Bustle titled, “7 Signs Your Dog Loves You as Much as You Love Them.” Some of the signs—such as tail wagging and slobbery kisses—are well-documented, but others may surprise you.

Also of interest, a dog’s breed actually contributes to how they show affection. As Dr. Hughes explains, a breed’s different behavioral traits can influence the way they interact with you, how much space they prefer and even if they like belly rubs!

Check out the article for more info.