A dog’s heart rate increases by 46% when owner says ‘I love you’, says new study

New research by dog-friendly holiday specialist Canine Cottages reveals how much dogs really love their owners, and how they show it.

Using special heart rate tracking collars on four different pooches, Canine Cottages discovered how dogs’ heart rates are affected when their owners cuddle and tell them they love them, as well as revealing five unique ways in which dogs tell you they love you.

Combining the heart rate tracking data from the four dogs over seven days, their average heart rate was 67bpm. However, when their owners told their four-legged friends they loved them, their heart rate jumped by a huge 46% to 98bpm, which shows how excited and happy they were when told they were loved.

In comparison, when having cuddles with their owner, the average heart rate decreased by 23% from 67bpm to 52bpm, showing how relaxed and comfortable they were when getting affection from their owners.

A full breakdown of the results can be found below:

Dogs Average heart rate over 7 days (beats per minute) Average heart rate during I love you Average heart rate during cuddles I love you difference from resting heart rate Cuddle difference

from resting heart rate

1 59 78 43.4 32.5% -26.4%
2 67 91 55 35.5% -17.9%
3 66 106 47.3 60.6% -28.3%
4 75 117 61.3 56.39% -18.26%
Avg 67 98 52 46% -22%


Canine Cottages also tracked the owners’ heart rates to see how much this compares with that of their pet and discovered their heart rate increased by 10% on average when they saw their dog after being away from them for a period of time. Although not as excitable as our pets, this still indicated how much we truly love our pooches.

But it’s not just heart rate that tells us how much our dogs love us. In fact, they have many ways of showing their affection.

Below, Veterinarian Dr Heather Venkat, head veterinary nurse Carolanne on behalf of Only Pets Cover and accredited dog trainer Joe Nutkins have pulled together five ways in which dogs showcase their affection:

  1. Cuddles: If your dog curls up next to you, on your lap or at your feet, he/she is saying they want to be as close to you as possible. Dogs will only cuddle in and lean on people they feel comfortable with, so it’s a sure sign of love.
  2. Greetings: When you greet your dog, they will likely wave their tail back and forth, jump and wiggle because they love you and are happy to see you
  3. Generosity: Bringing you a toy is another way dogs show their love for you. Yes, they want to play, but they also trust you with their favourite thing and know that you will have fun with them.
  4. Belly up: If a dog shows his belly to you, or sleeps on his back with his chest up, that’s a sign of perfect trust and love. It’s a vulnerable position for dogs because they are completely exposed and at the mercy of anyone who comes across them.
  5. Coming to see you when they’re in pain: When our dogs come to us holding a paw up, or they feel a little under the weather so come and lie next to us with their head on our lap, it shows a great level of trust.

So, if your dog has done any of these things, it’s a sure sign that they’re telling you they love you!

Commenting on the research, Shannon Keary, Campaigns Manager at Canine Cottages, says: “In the UK we are a nation of dog lovers, but although we know how much we love our pets, we’ve never really known if, or how, our dogs show their affection for us, which is why we conducted this research. It’s amazing to see that our dogs’ heart rates increase when they are told they are loved, showing excitement, and decreases when having cuddles, showing contentedness. It’s also interesting to see all the weird and wonderful ways our pets show their love for us. From this data, we can now officially say that our dogs really do love us!”

To find out more about the data or for further insight from the pet experts on how dogs indicate they love their owner, please visit: https://www.caninecottages.co.uk/doggy-devotion