A young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kitten
Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

Does My Dog Love Me? How to Tell

By: Kelli Rascoe & Trupanion Staff

Close-up view of a loving expression from a black and white dog.

The human-dog bond is a special relationship. Your pal always seems to be there for you when you need them, and like many pet parents you can feel the love. And no, you’re not just imagining that love either — there’s significant research that supports the canine sense of love for their owners. In fact, one MRI study found that dogs even equate their person’s scent to pleasure and have similar emotional responses to humans who feel love.

Adorable, right? Although you can’t scan your dog’s brain on a daily basis, there are plenty of physical signs to look for that show their affection loud and clear.

10 signs your dog loves you

From spending quality time together to cuddles on the couch, you may choose to show your affection for your pup in a variety of ways. But how does your dog show their affection to you?

1. They welcome you at the door

Whether you’ve been away from home for a few minutes or a few hours, your pet may never miss the chance to greet you at the door. If they’re waiting and welcome you with a wagging tail, loose body, and big doggy smile, chances are your best friend missed you and they want to let you know how much you mean to them.

Speaking of tail wagging...

2. Tail wags are common

Dogs frequently use their tails to express themselves. Contrary to popular belief, a wagging tail does not always mean joy and happiness, but according to PetKeen this is still true most of the time.

3. They give you a playful bow

If you are greeted by your furry friend extending their front paws in a bow, they may be trying to express some warm feelings. They also may be trying to play with you, because they want to spend more time with you.

If you’re playing with a puppy, consider play bowing to them. It may give your new pal a chance to learn cues or at least start a fun play session.

4. You’re followed around the house

Does your dog feel like your shadow at times? If you have a constant sidekick, your furry family member may be trying to tell you they’re living their best life with you by their side. Whether you’re working from home or hanging out at home, your companion may be trying to let you know how much your friendship means to them.

5. You have a sleeping buddy

If your dog enjoys curling up with you (or on you), rest assured that they’re feeling the love! As VCA Animal Hospitals notes, canines only tend to sleep where they feel safe, which is most often with their pack. So congratulations, you’re officially a member of their pack!

By the way, don’t worry if your pup isn’t super snuggly and trying to get in your lap. This is more of a personality preference, and just sleeping nearby in your vicinity shows that your dog cares.

6. They lick you

Affection from dogs can come in many forms, and one of the most famous is licking or “giving kisses.” This is a natural instinct that serves a lot of purposes, but when used on others it typically indicates positive communication and affection. Dogs are licked by their mothers as puppies for cleaning, nurturing, and connection, and they are frequently observed returning the favor with their favorite people.

7. They hold eye contact

When dogs are uncomfortable, they tend to look away when stared at. But if your favorite furry friend is holding eye contact with you when you look or even being the one to seek it out, they’re probably not uncomfortable at all. When dogs love humans, they’re happy and at ease around them, and they want to show it!

8. You’re given gifts

Does your dog friend like to bring you presents? It’s likely a sign that you’re someone they love and trust. If your pal is bringing you a toy or other objects they find “fun,” they probably want you to have fun too. There’s also a good chance that they want the human they love to play with them.

9. They extend a paw

Whether you have a puppy, adult dog, or a multi-dog household, each furry friend has their own special ways of communicating. One relatively common way of letting you know how they feel involves pawing at you. While this is often done to get your attention, some dogs may choose to use their paws as a way to stay connected to you or to show their affection.

Dogs tend to communicate with their whole bodies, so look for other signs as well. If they are relaxed and giving you a friendly gaze or even wagging their tail, love is likely the message!

10. The excitement is felt

A lot of times you can just feel that your dog is excited to be around you. Whether it’s through tail wags or body wiggles, or just a general sense of enthusiasm, a dog who loves their human won’t hesitate to show it. But hey, there’s a good chance you’re asking for signs your dog loves you because you probably already suspected they did!

A woman and her dog with a loving bond.

Show your dog love in return

Your puppy or adult dog may find their own individual way to show their affection, and that’s what makes them so unique. Just don’t forget to show your pal plenty of love in return! Whether it’s regular snuggles on the couch, trips to the dog park, or keep them healthy and safe, there are so many ways to show your pet that you care.

Have a feline in the family? Find out how to tell if your cat loves you.

A dog and cat snuggle

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We’re the official blog of Trupanion—chosen by veterinarians as the #1 pet insurance in America. Here you’ll find useful dog and cat care tips, interesting veterinary insights, and fun pet topics galore.

While you’re browsing our pet blog, please note that the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Trupanion. Our articles are reviewed by veterinarians for accuracy, but they are not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Always consult with your own pet’s veterinarian for advice.

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