Celebrate National Hug Your Dog Day This April
April 10th may seem like just another day to you, but to dogs it is something to celebrate. That's because some clever dog lover has deemed April 10th to be National Hug Your Dog Day.
This is one holiday that doesn't involve flowers, cards, presents, or decorations (although if you feel moved to do so, feel free). All you need to mark this occasion is give your beloved pup a big old hug. For other reasons to hug your pup, we reached out to Caroline Capuzzi, who published the book Dog Joy in 2018, when she was just 17 years old. The book collects what are basically love stories about rescue pups and the incredible happiness they bring the humans who welcome them into their lives. The book raises awareness and money for dog rescue organizations. Capuzzi asked the authors of the stories in her book to help put together a list of reasons to hug dogs on national hug your dog day, or any day. The Top 5 were:
- In both humans and dogs, oxytocin, a hormone associated with love, attachment and trust is released from the brain when you hug your dog.
- Hugging your dog gives both of you a sense of unconditional love and connection.
- Hugging your dog calms and relieves stress no matter how bad of a day you had.
- Hugging your dog lets them know you appreciate their loyalty and friendship.
- Hug your dog often simply because life is short and in his/her mind it probably feels like years since you hugged them last.
While fostering love and bonding is always a good thing, so is knowing what your pup likes, including whether or not they enjoy being hugged. In an article published in Psychology Today, psychology professor and star dog psychologist Stanley Coren argues that many dogs are actually stressed out by hugs. To figure out if your dog is a hugger, Coren suggests looking for signs of anxiety, like turning his head away to avoid eye contact, whining or barking, yawning, or ears down and back. If your dog stays relaxed or even wags his tail, feel free to celebrate Hug Your Dog Day every day.
If your dog is not a fan of being hugged, bless their furry little heart, there are other ways to make sure they know they are appreciated. Take them on an extra-long walk or to the dog park, ply them with treats, shower them with praise, or play fetch or tug of war or whatever activity they most enjoy.
While celebrated in much the same way, this is a distinct holiday from National Hug Your Hound Day, which falls on the second Sunday of September. While all hounds are dogs, not all dogs are hounds, so your hound dog gets an extra cuddle later this year. Whatever breed you call a friend, give them a good embrace on the 10th. Then get ready to celebrate National Pet Day on April 11th.