National Hug Your Dog Day is always celebrated on the second Sunday of April. Many of us have suffered from being lonely, sad, and even depressed in the past year. Our dogs can feel our emotions so that they may be suffering just as much as you. Today is a great day to let your dog know how much you love and cherish them for always being with you, by your side, and love you no matter what.
3 Reasons Why You Should Hug Your Dog Today, and Every Day
Oxytocin is a peptide hormone and neuropeptide and plays a role in social bonding. When oxytocin is released into certain parts of the brain, it impacts emotional, cognitive, and social behaviors. Hugging your dog releases hormones in both you and your dog that make you feel good. Oxytocin is a natural hormone associated with love.
When you feel loved, you send that same love into the universe. You’re kinder to people, neighbors, and animals. Right now, the world needs more calm and kindness. Hugging your dog helps to relieve stress and helps to keep you calm during moments of anxiety. This is just one reason why therapy dogs are so important!
Not only is hugging your dog healthy for them, but it’s also healthy for you too! A hug relieves stress and releases the natural “feel good” hormone. Hugs can also lower heart rates and stimulate the release of dopamine, which may reduce depression and pain.
Not a Fan of “The Hug”
A simple hug is a nonverbal way to express the love you feel for your dog. If you have a dog who enjoys hugs, consider yourself blessed! But you have to remember that not all dogs love to get hugs. But, most animals want to feel close to you. If you have a dog who doesn’t like to hug, just sitting quietly with him under a tree or on the couch is another excellent way for you to be close, relaxed, and comfortable. If your dog is not a fan of being hugged, there are other ways to show them they are loved:
- Playtime – 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 – Who doesn’t love treats? Dogs absolutely love treats! But it’s important to remember that food treats should only be an occasional reward and should always 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.