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Do Dogs Know You Love Them? Here’s How to Tell

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on April 17, 2024 by Dogster Team

black great dane dog cuddling with owner

Do Dogs Know You Love Them? Here’s How to Tell

As pet parents, you do little things to let your furry friend know you care. You feed them only the highest-quality, protein-filled food, take them to the vet, and play with them daily. However, have you ever wondered if your dog knows you love him?

While this may seem like a strange question to some people, pet parents know that dogs can feel love or disappointment from their owners. In fact, there have been scientific studies done about this very thing. Oxytocin gets released when you’re with someone you love; this is also called the love chemical.

Your dog releases that same chemical, so if you’re together, he knows that you love him, and everything you do for him is out of love. So, now you’re wondering how you can tell your dog knows you love him. We’ll go into a few of the top signs that your dog does indeed feel the love and give you tips on how to show your dog you love them even more.

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The 5 Ways to Tell Your Dogs Know You Love Them

1. Snuggling

pet owner sleeping with dog on her bed
Image By: Daniel Myjones, Shutterstock

As a pet parent, you love snuggle time with your canine pal. After all, isn’t this why we got these adorable creatures to begin with? When you invite your dog onto your lap or pat the couch beside you for a snuggle, the dog should jump at the chance. If the dog hops into your lap or snuggles next to you on the couch, it’s a clear sign that he’s feeling the love and returning it in spades.

2. Staring

well behaved dog looking at his owner while sleeping
Image By: Igor Normann, Shutterstock

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting on the couch reading a book, or maybe even watching television, when you look over, and your dog is just sitting there staring at you. If you’re creeped out by this, don’t be!

When a dog stares at someone they adore, it releases oxytocin. This is the dog’s way of letting you know he adores you and knows you love him. Think of his staring at you as a big hug, with his puppy dog eyes.

3. Licking

A happy and smiling women laying in the grass with her dog licking her face
Image By: Jennay Hitesman, Shutterstock

Many pet parents consider their dog licking them as the dog’s attempt to give them kisses. Dogs don’t see kisses the same way that humans do, however. Instead, when your dog licks you, he’s trying to groom you. Since dogs groom one another when they are in a pack, this is a clear sign that your dog has accepted you and knows you love him.

The dog licking you is his way of keeping you clean and healthy.

However, it’s best not to let your dog lick you if you have a wound, as it can make you and your dog sick.

4. The Doggie Lean

labrador dog resting its head on its owners lap
Image By: Erickson Stock, Shutterstock

According to loving pet parents everywhere, this is one of the most adorable things a dog can do. You already know that your dog can’t hug you, but when he leans into your leg or leans onto your hip when you’re sitting down, the dog is giving you his form of a hug.

Don’t be afraid to reach over and hug your dog back. However, it’s best to hug with one arm since hugging with two can make your dog feel trapped, which can ruin a snuggling session.

5. The Wagging Tail

Fluffy tail of brown dog with rice field behind
Image By: PisutKP, Shutterstock

We’ve all seen a dog wagging its tail softly from side to side when we walk into a room. Have you ever wondered why your furry friend does that? This isn’t the rapid tail wagging that happens when they want to play or are excited about something. This is a slow, gentle tail wagging.

This is a way of the dog telling you he’s happy to see you. Even though you’re not playing with him or feeding him, he’s happy you’re in the same room.


How to Show Your Dog You Love Him in 3 Easy Ways

Now that you know that dogs know you love them, and we’ve given you a few signs to watch for so you can tell, you might be wondering how you can show your dog you love him even more than you already do.

1. New Toys

What dog wouldn’t love a new toy? Surprising your pet with a new ball, chew stick, or rope can go a long way toward showing your canine pal that you love him. Give your dog the new toy and let them play with it for as long as they want to. Even better, play with the toy with your dog for a bit of bonding time.

owner using dog toy to play with his pet
Image By: Alena Veasey, Shutterstock

2. Stare Back

We’ve already determined that your dog stares at you to show he loves you, so why not return the favor and stare back? This is the perfect way to show your dog you care. However, you only want to do this if the dog already trusts you. If you just adopted the dog, and you stare back at him, he may see it as a threat and become scared.

3. Spend Time with Your Dog

The best way to show your dog some extra love is by spending time with him. Whether snuggling on the couch watching television, taking an afternoon walk, or playing fetch in the backyard, your dog loves the time you spend together, so don’t skimp on it.



As you can see, there are a few signs that you can look for in your furry friend to determine if he knows that you love him or not. If you’ve recently adopted a dog, you’ll need to give him time to trust you and to realize that you love him. Some dogs take longer than others to become comfortable in a new environment. It takes time, patience, and a lot of love, but you’ll get together.

Featured Image Credit: Roger costa morera, Shutterstock

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