New research has revealed just how much dogs really love their owners, and how they like to show it.
Using special heart rate tracking collars on four different dogs, researchers discovered how dogs’ heart rates are affected when their owners cuddle and tell them they love them, as well as revealing five unique ways in which dogs tell you they love you.
Combining the heart rate tracking data from the four dogs over seven days, their average heart rate was 67 beats per minute (bpm).
However, when their owners told their four-legged friends they loved them, their heart rate jumped by a huge 46 per cent to 98bpm, which shows how excited and happy they were when told they were loved.
In comparison, when having cuddles with their owner, the average heart rate decreased by 23 per cent from 67bpm to 52bpm, showing how relaxed and comfortable they were when getting affection from their owners.
Researchers also tracked the owners’ heart rates to see how much this compares with that of their pet, and discovered their heart rates increased by 10 per cent on average when they saw their dog after being away from them for a period of time.
Although not as excitable as our pets, this still indicates how much we truly love our dogs.
But it’s not just heart rate that tells us how much our dogs love us.
In fact, they have many ways of showing their affection.
If your dog curls up next to you, on your lap or at your feet, he/she is saying they want to be as close to you as possible.
Dogs will only cuddle in and lean on people they feel comfortable with, so it’s a sure sign of love.
When you greet your dog, they will likely wave their tail back and forth, jump and wiggle because they love you and are happy to see you.
Bringing you a toy is another way dogs show their love for you.
Yes, they want to play, but they also trust you with their favourite thing and know that you will have fun with them.
If a dog shows his belly to you, or sleeps on his back with his chest up, that’s a sign of perfect trust and love.
It’s a vulnerable position for dogs because they are completely exposed and at the mercy of anyone who comes across them.
Coming to see you when they’re in pain
When our dogs come to us holding a paw up, or they feel a little under the weather so come and lie next to us with their head on our lap, it shows a great level of trust.
So, if your dog has done any of these things, it’s a sure sign that they’re telling you they love you.
The research was carried out by dog-friendly holiday specialist Canine Cottages.
Shannon Keary, campaigns manager at Canine Cottages, said: “In the UK we are a nation of dog lovers.
“But although we know how much we love our pets, we’ve never really known if, or how, our dogs show their affection for us, which is why we conducted this research.
“It’s amazing to see that our dogs’ heart rates increase when they are told they are loved, showing excitement, and decreases when having cuddles, showing contentedness.
“It’s also interesting to see all the weird and wonderful ways our pets show their love for us.
“From this data, we can now officially say that our dogs really do love us.”
For more results from the study, click here.