Benefits of Hugging Your Dog

Child hugging dog

Benefits of Hugging Your Dog

Hugging your dog has been shown to cause the release of oxytocin neurotransmitters in the brain. Oxytocin is sometimes known as "the cuddle hormone," so show your affection for animals. This is true not just for dogs but also for humans. Every time a human hugs a dog, both receive a dose of oxytocin or love, which leaves them wanting more!

On this day, we express our love and appreciation for our dogs. Most of us have such busy lives that we forget how much our pups need our love and affection!  Dogs are grateful and loyal to us, it's time for us to return the favor. 

Happy Dog

A simple hug is a nonverbal way to express the love you feel for your dog. Some of the many benefits of hugging your dog(s) include:

  • Hugging your dog gives you both a sense of unconditional love and closeness.
  • Hugging your dog is calming and relieves stress.
  • Hugging your dog lets them know you appreciate their loyalty and companionship.

If you don't have a dog, you can visit your local shelter to adopt one. If you love dogs, you can go to the rescues around your area to see if they could use some help!

Respect Boundaries

It is crucial to keep in mind that not every dog is a happy hugger.

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

Respect Boundaries

If your dog gets a little stiff when you try to hug them, it’s probably because they don’t care for hugs. 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 give your dog space when they want it. 


Try belly rubs or back scratches instead if your dog doesn’t care for hugs.

Other Ways to Celebrate National Hug Your Dog Day

Dog with New Toy

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 – 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 affirmation. 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.

Belly Rub

National Hug Your Dog day is a special day to remind us how much our furry friends mean to us. Dogs give us unconditional love and loyalty, so we must show them some love in return! Today, take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to give your dog a big ol' hug. Not only will they appreciate it, but you'll feel better too! And don't forget to share photos of you and your pup on social media with the hashtag #HugYourDogDay. From all of us here at Vital Pet Life, have a happy National Hug Your Dog day! @vitalpetlife