Show your affection in a language your pet understands

Show your affection in a language your pet understands

Humans, especially children, tend to express their compassion and affection through hugs, which is the most natural way for them to do so. It is also common for us to extend such gestures of love to our pets as well. Unfortunately, for animals, hugs are not a natural way of showing affection.


Why do they dislike hugs? 

Dogs and cats don't comprehend human affection expressed through hugs. They do not hug each other either. The closest they get to this behaviour is when engaging in a fight or play-fighting and pinning each other to the ground.

Our furry friends, cats and dogs, may feel trapped and uncomfortable when we hug them. When we hug them, we restrict their ability to move freely, which can make them feel uneasy. In such situations, cats may retaliate with a scratch while dogs might bite to escape the hug. It's important to note that it can also be dangerous because our face is so close to theirs. So, it's best to show our affection towards them in other ways, like petting them, giving them treats, or taking them for walkies. That way, we can make our furry friends feel loved and comfortable without causing them any discomfort.

It's always important to show love and care towards our furry friends, but it's equally important to understand their body language to ensure their comfort. Dogs often communicate their discomfort through certain signs, such as whale eye (showing the whites of their eyes), ears pulled back, or freezing in place.

That's why it's so important to teach children about showing appropriate affection towards cats and dogs. By understanding their signals and being respectful of their boundaries, we can help create a safe and happy environment for all our four-legged friends!


Signs of discomfort:

  • Freezing the moment you hug them.
  • Turning their head away when you want to hug them.
  • Tucking their tail between their legs.
  • Yawning when you come closer.
  • Licking their lips and/or nose.
  • Lowering their ears.
  • Showing the whites of their eyes (whale eye).
  • Raising their paw off the ground.


Safe affection:

Just because you can’t give your cat or dog a hug doesn’t mean that you can’t show your affection. Here are a few ways to show your pets you love them.



 Have you ever noticed that when your cat looks at you and slowly opens and closes her eyes, like a slow-motion blink, it means that she loves you? You can also show your love to your cat by allowing her to rub against you whenever she feels affectionate. This is the highest compliment a cat can give her owner, as she has scent glands on her cheeks and head, and by rubbing against you, she claims you as part of her family by putting her scent on you.

 If your cat is vocal and loves to "chat" with you, you can participate in the conversation too, either by meowing back or by saying actual words and telling her that you love her too. Many cats love grooming themselves, and they appreciate a grooming session from their owners. Show your love by giving her a good grooming session with a brush or comb.



Have you ever noticed that your dog looks at you with soft eyes? You can reciprocate the affection by lovingly looking at your furry friend. You can even add the words “I love you”, but be careful not to stare at him - he might misinterpret this as an act of aggression.

Another way that dogs show affection is by leaning against you. You can also lean against your dog, but make sure not to put too much pressure on him.

Cuddling with your dog is always a great idea. You can allow him or a part of him to lie on your lap, or against you while you sit on the couch or the floor. You can hold him gently, but avoid the urge to hug him tightly.

Take your dog for a long stroll around the neighbourhood or the park. You can talk to him while you’re walking, telling him all sorts of stories, and reminding him how much you love him.

Most dogs love it when you pet them behind their ears or on their back. And of course, belly rubs are always a hit. While you’re petting him, make sure to express your love and affection towards your furry friend.


By keeping it simple and talking to your pets, you’re already showing them how much you love them – you don’t need to give them hugs. Using these tips will definitely go a long way towards safely showing your affection for your fur babies.

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