We all know the tell-tale signs from our dogs that they love us, from wagging tales to giddy licks. But how can we show them the same affection?

We’ve looked at the most effective ways to show your dog how much you love them and conducted an experiment to demonstrate just how positively people are impacted by their pets. We also spoke to Mindshine’s Chief Science Officer Dr. Marsha Chinichian, who’s offered expert insight into why our dogs make us so happy and healthy.

How to show your dog how much you care

It’s no secret that spending time with dogs can greatly improve overall mood and wellbeing. But how can you show your dog just how much you appreciate them? We’ve offered our top five tips to say ‘I love you’ in doggy lingo!

1. Use your doggy voice

Your dog understands you more than you might think, so don’t be afraid to use your doggy voice when communicating. Dog’s respond better to higher-pitched playful tones, and react especially well to simple, familiar phrases; so, keep up the ‘treats’, ‘walkies’, and ‘good boy!’.

2. Belly rubs

Dogs respond well to body language and touch. So, offering physical affection, such as belly rubs, goes a long way towards showing your furry friend just how much they mean to you – and they’re great fun for pet and owner alike! Just know when your dog excitedly rolls over with a giddy smile, they love and trust you unconditionally.

3. Ear scratches

While belly rubs are a fun way to enjoy physical contact with your dog, soft strokes behind the ear are a much more intimate way to show your love. Gently rubbing behind your dog’s ears releases endorphins for them, which helps to relieve pain and stimulate feelings of pleasure.

4. Get active together

Dogs love bounding about and enjoying adventure, especially with people they love! Show them the same affection and take your dog out for a walk or run around in the park. Not only does this give you a great opportunity to develop their training (and reward them with a tasty treat!), but the shared experience builds trust.

5. Share quality time

A couple of hours in the park might appeal to your pet’s excitable pack mentality, but nothing beats the time spent afterwards relaxing in front of the TV or enjoying a nap together. Letting them cuddle up close and stroking them softly as they start to snooze shows affection and love.

What does the data say?

To better understand the positive impact of dogs, we conducted a little experiment. This involved collecting heart-rate readings, sleep quality scores, and body temperature data of dog-lovers before and after spending quality time playing with and stroking their furry friends.

Stroking your dog can improve sleep

Interestingly, results show that spending just ten minutes a day with your pooch can improve sleep by up to 32%. Of course, longer is always encouraged, but a little time before bed can go a long way; Dr. Chinichian confirms that a healthy sleep cycle is closely linked to improved mental health, so don’t overlook the benefits!

Doggy play time can improve your mood

Our experiment shows that doggy time excites us just as much as it does our pets, with human heart rates soaring by 22% after just ten minutes of stroking. Dr. Chinichian explains that physical interaction with your dog can increase the rate at which you produce dopamine, which increases feelings of enjoyment!

Playing with your dog reduces emotional stress

Playing with and stroking your dog for as little as ten minutes can have an impact on your physiology, and can lower your body temperature by 2.9%, which equates to around a 1°C drop. Dr. Chinichian explains that this signifies reduced emotional stress and improved calmness, which can lead to healthier blood pressure levels.

They’re called man’s best friend for a reason, but it’s amazing to see just positively people react to spending as little as 10 minutes with their dogs. For even more from us, check out the latest over on our blog. Or discover our complete collection of adorable cards for dog lovers!