Love is in the air, especially on Valentine’s Day. The love we have for our pets is undeniable. And if you’ve ever wondered how to tell if your animal companion loves you back, there are many ways that pets share their feelings with us.
Dr. Angela Hughes, DVM, PhD, veterinary genetics research manager at Wisdom Health, the world’s leading canine genetics company, shares the general signs of a dog’s “love language”.
5 Signs Your Dog Loves You:
- Tail wagging: A dog can express many emotions through their tails, but a happy, relaxed dog will show it by a friendly tail wag, often with a smile on their face.
- Spending time with you/following you everywhere: As dogs were developed from the wolf, which are known for their loyalty to the pack and sociability, our dogs are the same way and they show it by wanting to be in our space—following us around from room to room as we move about the house.
- Licking you: Another carry-over from their wolf ancestors that would lick their mother’s faces to indicate that they were hungry, the modern dog uses this instinct to let us know that they care about us and are not a threat. They will also do it as an act to groom you, which is another way to show intimacy.
- Leaning on you/sitting in your lap/being in contact: Dogs will show their affection and attention by leaning against you, curling up in your lap, or just resting a nose or paw on you. They also often like to sleep with you (if allowed), similar to how wolf packs sleep together.
- Play: Depending on the dog, this can take many forms, from retrieving games to chasing games to rolling around on the ground together. Most dogs love to engage you in play as a means of showing affection and forming a bond, not to mention getting a little of their energy out.
Kathy Blumenstock of PetMD.com shares the general signs of a cat’s love for their humans.
7 Signs Your Cat Loves You:
- The “cat kiss”: Known as the “cat kiss,” the “slow blink” and the “eye kiss,” the languid blinking of feline eyes is one of your cat’s most charming ways of showing love. If your cat displays a trusting glance and offers you a “cat kiss,” slowly blink back and bask in their happy approval.
- Kneading: Nursing babies press their paws against their mother’s side to stimulate the flow of milk, and throughout their lives, cats retain that association with joy and warmth. If your cat plops into your lap and begins “making biscuits,” enjoy this special massage as a sign of happiness and trust.
- Tale of the tail: A cat’s tail—that sturdy rudder mainly used for balance—is also a decoder of moods and messages. Whether their tail is lightly brushing against you or winding around you, it indicates approval and possession, telling the world: “Yes, this is my human.”
- Purring: Soft as a sigh or loud as a lawn mower, the purr is a cat’s coolest trick. The rhythmic hum beneath their fur is famously known as a sign of kitty contentment. The purr is cited as one of the top ways cats show affection for their people, going back to your kitty’s earliest memories.
- Sleeping with you: Cats luxuriate in the bliss of sleep, so it’s really no surprise that your feline wishes to share it with you. Cats show affection by sticking close to their human companions.
- Head butting and rubbing: Known as “bunting,” when a cat butts or rubs their head against you, it is a gesture of pure affection.
- Grooming you: Cats that are friends or family often groom each other as an affectionate stress reliever and a way of exchanging scents. If your cat begins licking your arm, cherish the compliment and later return the favor with a gentle comb or brush.
These are just some of the signs to look for. And if your pet expresses any or all of these signs, you know they love you as much as you love them.