Why do dogs cuddle?
Is there any better feeling than getting a cuddle from your dog? After a stressful day, you can curl up on the couch and be sure that your furry friend will come to put their head on your lap and tuck their body under your arms.
We, humans, are definitely cuddlers and it is well-known that cuddling reduces stress and increases the bond between us.
But what about dogs? Why do dogs cuddle?
Do all dogs love to cuddle?
Dog cuddles are the best, but it's important that they're initiated from the pup or that you know the dog very well. Some dogs don't love cuddles or people entering their personal space, so it's important you respect that and don't force them.
Some dog breeds tend to be more cuddly than others – and it's not just lap dogs. Newfoundlands, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, and Boxers are all known for being particularly snuggly pups. Of course, each dog is different and just because they're a more cuddly breed doesn't mean that they'll love your affection.
Why do dogs cuddle?
There are many reasons why dogs like to cuddle and have all your attention. And I'm sure, the feeling is pretty mutual.
To share body heat
Dogs are originally pack animals and cuddling is just them displaying their natural behavior. In the past, dogs would have had to snuggle to keep warm on cold nights. It's also a great way for the pack to bond and for them to protect younger and elderly pups. A dog cuddle is just them showing you affection and that you're part of their family.
They're a young dog or puppy
Puppies snuggle because it reminds them of their mom and brothers and sisters. For a pup in a new home, cuddling can be a great way to reduce their anxiety and stress. It's a natural behavior that can be really soothing and help them to feel protected.
Dogs enjoy cuddling because it releases a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is also known as the love hormone and creates a positive hormonal response. It can help to calm your pup as well as strengthen the bond between the two of you. Dog owners may also find it helpful to look into their dog's eyes when cuddling as this helps them to trust you and feel protected.
To relieve stress
Many dogs suffer from anxiety and stress. They may be triggered by certain events, sights, or sounds. Cuddling your dog is a great way to comfort them if they're scared or anxious. Many pet parents say it helps to snuggle your pup, for example, when you know there will be fireworks outside. Just having you near them can really help to keep them calm.
Should you encourage dog cuddling?
Many dogs love cuddling. And so do humans. So you'll be happy to know that dog snuggling can, generally, be encouraged. It's good for you, will make your dog more relaxed, increase the bond between the both of you, and just feels nice – especially on really cold nights!
Even if your dog loves cuddle time, it's important that they don't get too attached and struggle when you leave. Many pet dogs suffer from separation anxiety and whilst cuddling can soothe them, it can also be part of the problem if they don't feel confident to spend a bit of time on their own.
Why does your dog cuddle less in summer?
When dogs initiate closeness and try to snuggle you, it's a really good sign that they trust you and want to show you some affection. But don't get disheartened if the cuddles reduce in summer. Dogs can have a hard time staying cool during the warmer months and cuddles with you will only make that worse. Try not to take offense!
Do your dogs love to cuddle? What breed are they?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!