We all know the ways people express love and affection, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many of us will be giving and receiving chocolates, roses, and other tokens of love.
But the ways pets show they love us is a bit different…
A bond forms between people and their pets once trust is established, and that happens through the act of caring for, and interacting with them. Providing food, shelter, and engaging in activities with our pets lays the foundation of trust. Once a dog or cat feels safe, cared for, and loved, they will exhibit behaviors that make us feel loved. And this goes for all different types of pets! Although some argue their actions are simply primal, and an attempt to get what they want, anyone who has pets will tell you there is no doubt that their pets love them!
9 Ways Dogs Show Us Love
1) Through excitement
They are happy to see you! They wag their tails, and may run around, get wiggly or jump on you.
2) They want to be with you
Many dogs, if they had their way, would prefer to be with you 24/7. Some will follow their owners all around the house just to be near them. This behavior can sometimes occur due to a dog being nervous or anxious, but most of the time, they just genuinely enjoy your company.
3) They want to sleep in your bed
As pack animals, dogs see you as one of the pack, and even though sleeping is not exactly an activity, it’s still a very strong bonding experience for dogs, and certainly shows they feel safe and secure around you.
4) They “say it!”
Dogs may bark, yip, howl or make other vocalizations that express their happiness.
5) They seek approval
Dogs will look to us for guidance and acceptance. They often do things they know makes their owners happy.
6) They give kisses
Dogs will lick our faces, or as we like to say, give kisses! They may also show affection by exhibiting grooming behaviors, as they would with other dogs and even other types of pets.
7) They share
A dog may bring their owner a special toy, seemingly offering it as a gift. This sharing behavior is a true expression of trust and affection.
8) They are loyal
Dogs will show their loyalty in ways like being protective of family members, and often more so of children. They may engage with us in very animated ways, and yet act aloof with non-family members.
9) They gaze
Dogs will stare into our eyes, a behavior that releases oxytocin in both their brain and ours. It is often referred to as the “Love Hormone” due to its ability to make us feel good in a “warm and fuzzy” way.
6 Ways Cats Show Us Love
Although cats have a reputation of being more aloof and less affectionate than dogs, many cat owners will beg to differ, noting their cats are extremely affectionate.
1) They rub against us
Cats love rubbing against our legs when we are standing, or even walking, which can lead to some fancy footwork on our part! They will exhibit this same behavior when we are seated, by rubbing against our faces.
2) They talk to us
Of course, one of the most obvious signs of a happy and content cat is purring. They will also communicate with meows, and little chirps, and trills.
3) They are lap cats
Many cats love to sit in our laps, a sign they feel safe and loved.
4) They knead us
Cats will often knead us with their front feet. A behavior learned as kittens nursing.
5) They follow us around
Just like dogs, some cats just want to be with us, and genuinely enjoy our company. They may follow their owner from room to room, and being the skilled jumpers that they are, they will happily hop up on counters, desks, or whatever they can just to be closer to us.
6) They groom us
Cats will groom each other as a way of being social and interacting. This important behavior also serves to build and strengthen bonds. So, it’s not hard to see that when our cat grooms us, it is a clear sign of their trust and affection for us.
So how does your pet show they love you?
We asked some pet owners to share …
“Clementine talks to us. She'll come over and have a whole conversation! Sometimes she comes to tell us there’s ‘stuff goin on’ outside, but usually she's just checking in.” -Shanna G.
“I can tell my dogs love me because they actually get sad and howl when I leave them but when I get home, they have absolute joy on their faces and it takes them a few minutes to stop celebrating my return.” -Kiley S.
“In 9 years, I have never bent down to tie my shoelaces without Jake kissing/licking my face.” -Phil S.
“I know my dog loves me because he hugs me! When he is really happy to see me, he will put his paws up on my shoulders and pull me towards him, like a real hug!” -Alyssa K.
“When I leave, Clancy likes to carry one of my shoes up onto the bed and lay with it. Usually it’s a slipper, but I have come home to the occasional sneaker on my pillow… I’ve learned to cover my pillows when I leave.” -Kirsten A.
“She brings me her favorite toy. The one she will never share with the other dogs, only me.” -Sam G.
“Rory backs up and puts his two back feet onto my feet and just stands there. He just wants to be touching me. It's the funniest, sweetest thing.” -Maureen S.
“I know my dog loves me because he will always try to comfort me if he thinks I'm upset. It's the sweetest thing.” -Monica L.
“When we're driving, she's so tiny she can't see out the window, she just sits there staring at me. I felt bad for her so I bought her a raised seat. But she never even looks out! All she does is stare at me.” -Paula H.
“My cat is my shadow, he literally follows me everywhere and never takes his eyes off of me. I rescued him, but the truth is, he has rescued me.” -Dave D.
“He humps my leg. That’s love, right?” -Simon T.
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