Intranasal administration of oxytocin promotes social play in domestic dogs

Romero, Teresa, Nagasawa, Miho, Mogi, Kazutaka , Hasegawa, Toshikazu and Kikusui, Takefumi (2015) Intranasal administration of oxytocin promotes social play in domestic dogs. Communicative & Integrative Biology, 8 (3). e1017157. ISSN 1942-0889

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In a recent paper, we examined whether oxytocin in the domestic dog modulates the maintenance of close social bonds in non-reproductive contexts. We found that exogenous oxytocin promotes positive social behaviors not only toward conspecifics, but also toward human partners. Here we examined in further detail the effect that oxytocin manipulation has on social play. When sprayed with oxytocin, subjects initiated play sessions more often and played for longer periods of time than when sprayed with saline. Furthermore, after oxytocin nasal intake dogs displayed play signals more often than after saline administration, suggesting that oxytocin enhances dogs' play motivation. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence that oxytocin promotes social play in the domestic dog. We use these results to hypothesize on the potential therapeutic use of oxytocin for promoting social behaviors and treating social deficits in the domestic dog.

Keywords:dogs, companion animals, oxytocin, social play, social bonds, JCOpen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:25903
Deposited On:27 Jan 2017 10:56

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