April 10 is National Hug Your Dog Day: It’s Good for Both of You

How can a hug benefit both you and your furry friend?

Table of Contents

Open your heart and your arms! It’s National Hug Your Dog Day on April 10. What better way to show your pooch just how much you love them than with a good old-fashioned hug.

And a hug is healthy for you too! A hug may relieve stress and release the natural “feel good” hormone, oxytocin. This can also lower heart rates and stimulate the release of dopamine which may reduce depression and pain.

A simple hug is a nonverbal way to express the love you feel for your dog and for them, can hold many benefits including:

  1. In both humans and dogs, oxytocin, a hormone associated with love, connection and trust is released from the brain when you hug your dog.
  2. Hugging your dog gives both of you a sense of unconditional love and closeness.
  3. Hugging your dog is calming and relieves stress.
  4. Hugging your dog lets them know you appreciate their loyalty and companionship.

But it is important to keep in mind that not every dog is a happy hugger.

Every dog is different with their own sense of personal space, so owners should respect their dogs’ needs.

If your dog gets a little stiff when you try to hug them, it’s probably because they don’t really care for it. Look for signs of anxiety, such as head turning to avoid eye contact, whining, barking, yawning, or ears down and back. Squirming or trying to get away is another good sign, so be sure to give your dog space when they want it. If your dog doesn’t care for hugs, try belly rubs or back scratches instead.

Of course, many dogs can’t wait for a quick snuggle. Sometimes, your pooch may even purposefully nuzzle themselves under your arm because it brings them a sense of comfort and security.

If your dog is not a fan of being hugged, there are other ways to make sure they know they are loved:

Play time – Although your dog may not be the hugging type, there are other playful ways to show them you care such as a snuggle on the sofa, a long walk, a game of fetch or tug of war.

A new toy – Dogs always enjoy a new toy to throw around or chew on.

Treats – Dogs love treats, but it’s important to remember that food treats should only be an occasional reward, and should be pet-approved.

Contact – Head pats, chin scratches, and belly rubs are all great ways to stay in “touch” with your dog, but just like with hugs, be mindful of your dog’s response to ensure they are comfortable.

Positive words – Everyone enjoys words of praise and affection. Even if your pet doesn’t exactly know what “good dog” or “I love you” means, they will understand the tender tone of your voice.

And of course, National Hug Your Dog Day can be celebrated with a sweet embrace between you and your pooch, every day.

LifeLearn News

Note: This article, written by LifeLearn Animal Health (LifeLearn Inc.) is licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by a veterinarian.

Spending extra time at home with our pets during the pandemic has strengthened our human-animal bonds, making the idea of leaving town for that long-awaited vacation hard to fathom. But that’s where a professional pet sitter comes in – someone who can ensure that your pets have a great time,

Pet Owner’s Guide to Emergency Preparedness

Are You Ready? A Pet Owner's Guide to Emergency Preparedness

The current conflict in Ukraine has left its citizens and their pets in a state of crisis, forcing many to evacuate the country for shelter and safety. Some evacuees have or are trying to escape with their pets and many others have been forced to leave them behind, not knowing

Pet Food Supply Issues: How to Keep Your Pet Well-fed and Fed Well

Stuck in the Pet Food Aisle? How to Choose the Best Alternatives During Shortages!

If you’re the personal shopper to a cat or dog, you’ve likely found yourself in this dilemma: the shelf that always holds their usual food is empty, the ETA for more stock is unknown, and you need to choose something else – but what? Over the last two years, thanks

Changing the Outlook for Flat-faced Dogs (the Change Starts With Us)

Can We Make Flat-faced Dogs Healthier? Your Role in the Change!

A recent litter of hairless French Bulldogs bred in the UK has whipped up a flurry of media attention that is raising concerns around “extreme breeding”, in essence, breeding programs that focus on exaggerated conformational changes. Frenchies, and other designer flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds like the Chinese Pug and English Bulldog,

What Your Pet Really Wants for Valentine’s Day!

What Gifts Make Your Pet's Heart Purr on Valentine's Day?

Pets are family, so it’s understandable that they want to share the holiday of love with the most important people in their lives (that’s you), and that includes sharing the gifts you receive! Pets have good reason to be interested in the treats, plants, and stuffed toys people enjoy on

Dental Health for All Pets (That Have Teeth)

Got Teeth? The Importance of Dental Health for All Pets!

What do dogs, cats, rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, and degus have in common? Teeth! And because they get used daily, keeping your pet’s teeth healthy is important to their overall health and quality of life. February is Pet Dental Health Month so it’s a great time to review the basics

New Year Fitness Goals With Your Pets

New Year, New Fitness Goals: How to Get Fit with Your Pets!

We’ve all heard of Covid-19 but what about the dreaded “Covid-15”? People everywhere are commiserating about their weight gain during the pandemic and the same applies to our pets. A survey of 1,000 cat and dog owners in the US found that 42% of respondents had pets that gained weight

Answering Your Cat’s Questions

Why Cats Ask and How Humans Answer: Unraveling Feline Curiosity!

We all know cats are curious, but do we know what they’re curious about? If they could ask us anything, what would it be? And how would you answer their questions? Well, we received some anonymous submissions from your cats (with our special kitty translating device of course!) and this

Your pet’s happiness is our priority! If your furry friend needs anything, don’t hesitate to call. We’re here to guide and ensure their well-being with a warm touch and friendly advice.