Can pets fall in love?

You’re positively smitten with your kitten and beguiled by your bulldog, but can your pets experience feelings of love the same way you do? In a nutshell: absolutely! 

At Androscoggin Animal Hospital, we appreciate that the love you have for your pets runs deep, and we believe that our animal sidekicks, in their own special ways, can return that love to the people (and other pets) in their lives. 

The Love Hormone

All mammals produce oxytocin, a hormone that relieves stress and gives us an overall feeling of contentment. Studies have shown that dogs and cats experience upticks in oxytocin levels after interacting with their favorite humans. When a burst of oxytocin floods your cat’s or dog’s brain, it triggers sensations of joy and attachment, or in a word, love! 

That’s Amore! 

Maybe our pets can’t verbally articulate their emotions, or leave love notes on our desks, but they do use body language and other actions to communicate their love for us. Read on!

How Your Pup Shows She’s Pining for You:

  • Every day she welcomes you home like you’ve been gone for months.
  • She raises her eyebrows when she looks at you.
  • She looks deeply into your eyes (releasing that magical love hormone).
  • She yawns because you yawn (yes, dogs have sympathy yawns).
  • She wants to be near you and sleep with you.
  • She looks for you when you leave the room. 
  • She licks you.
  • She “gifts” her toys to you.

How Your Feline Shows Her Fondness:

  • She gives you a slow blink.
  • She gives you a firm headbutt or rubs her body on your leg.
  • Her motor runs when you interact with her.
  • She exposes her belly to you, signaling trust. 
  • She makes biscuits on your lap.
  • She brings her “catch of the day” home, which means she feels safe.
  • She follows you from room to room and/or wants to sleep with you.
  • She “grooms” your hair.

Now It’s Your Turn

Your pets instinctively sense your affection when you give your dog oodles of “scritches,” shower your kitty with plenty of playthings, and smother your fur babies with goodnight kisses. And while it may not thrill them at the time, one of the most important ways you show your pets how much you care is by making sure they get quality veterinary services.

Here are a few more suggestions from our team for showing your furry companions how much you love them:  

  • Limit your screen time. Tear yourself away from your computer, tablet, or phone and be present with your pet.
  • Prepare healthy, homemade treats.
  • Keep your dog company outside during potty breaks.
  • Treat your pets to long, leisurely grooming sessions.
  • Serve your pets nutritionally balanced, healthy diets.
  • Try something new—just the two of you!

Pet ownership is a beautiful, mutually rewarding experience, and we’re here to help you enjoy long, loving relationships with your pets. Contact us if we can help answer any questions.