Three little words — “I love you” — have the power to change the way humans feel. And, as it turns out, those three little words could greatly impact dogs too, according to new data.

Dogs’ heart rates jumped 46 percent when their guardians told them they’re loved, showing that they are excited to hear “I love you,” suggests a recent study by Canine Cottages, a UK company that helps people find pet-friendly vacation homes.

In four dogs fitted with a heart rate tracking collar for a week, the average dog’s heart rate was 67 beats per minute. But when the dogs were told “I love you,” the average heart rate jumped to 98 beats per minute, reported People.

In addition, their heart rates decreased to 52 beats per minute when cuddled by their caretakers, suggesting that this has a calming effect on dogs.

“It’s amazing to see that our dogs’ heart rates increase when they are told they are loved, showing excitement,” Canine Cottages Campaign Manager Shannon Keary told People, “and decreases when having cuddles, showing contentedness.”

Many recent studies have shown how strong the bond between humans and dogs truly is.

And don’t worry — you don’t need to measure your dog’s heart rate just to see if he loves you. Research shows that many of your dog’s everyday behaviors likely show his attachment to you, according to veterinarian Marty Becker.

For example, when a dog is content and comfortable with you, he will look into your eyes, and he’ll be excited to hear your voice. He’ll wag his tail, and if he does it to the right side of his body, that’s even better! He will also like to be near you, curling up at your feet or next to you.

Not to leave out our feline friends, research shows that cats are as attached to humans as dogs are.

In the Canine Cottages study, humans’ heart rates also went up after being away from their dogs for a long time, showing a world filled with more interspecies care and compassion could be better for all of us.

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