It’s a familiar sight for dog owners – the moment when you cuddle your beloved furry friend and they respond with a small groan or grunt. But what does it mean? Why do dogs grunt when we cuddle them?
Your dog may groan or grunt when being cuddled because they’re feeling happy, relaxed, or even sleepy. For some dogs, grunting is a sign of comfort while for others, especially certain breeds, grunting means they’re uncomfortable with being cuddled, or they’re not used to it. It could also mean that your dog is in pain. Let’s explore these reasons in more detail.
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8 Reasons Why Your Dog Groans When You Cuddle Them
While there are many different reasons why your dog might groan or grunt when you hug or cuddle them, let’s take a deeper dive into 8 of them. It’s important to remember that it might not just be one reason, but rather a combination of these reasons.
Taking into consideration your dog’s situation, setting, and context when it comes to their behavior can help you understand what’s happening and find a more accurate explanation!
Reason 1: Your Dog Is Feeling Sleepy
After a long day, you might want to spend some quality time cuddling with your pup. However, when you do so, you’re met with a grunt. What could this mean?
Dogs might grunt or groan when you cuddle them because they’re feeling sleepy. They might have been getting ready to find their comfy spot to take a nap or call it a night. By grunting when you cuddle them, your dog is telling you that they want to go take a nap.
Reason 2: Your Dog Is Feeling Relaxed
Grunting doesn’t always indicate displeasure. In fact, it could mean the opposite!
Your dog feels the most comfortable and safe when you’re around. Being near you helps them feel calm. Hugging your dog can make them feel relaxed and comforted.
In a way, a grunt for a dog is similar to a sigh of relief when you finally have time to relax. Pay attention to their body language and look for signs such as a relaxed tail and a slight smiling look. These can be indicators that your dog is feeling very relaxed when in your embrace. They may even let out a sigh!
Reason 3: Your Dog Is Happy
Your dog might grunt when you cuddle or even when you simply pet them because they are pleased. Grunting could be their way of expressing happiness!
You and your dog spend a lot of time together, doing things they love. Because of the time and care you give, it’s not surprising to think that you are your dog’s favorite person. Being around you makes them happy. Our dogs make us happy too, so it’s no wonder that you feel a strong connection with your dog.
Since you’re your dog’s favorite person, spending time with you feels like the best part of their day. Cuddling with our dogs, depending on their likes and dislikes, can make them so happy that they want to let out a grunt of joy!
Reason 4: Your Dog Is Uncomfortable
On the flip side, your dog might not enjoy hugs or cuddles. Dogs have their own ways of showing affection, which might differ from how humans show it, especially when it comes to physical touch like hugging and cuddling.
Your dog might let out a grunt or groan when you cuddle them because they don’t like the feeling of being cuddled. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like you, but rather that they don’t enjoy what you’re doing.
To some dogs, cuddling or hugging can feel like being trapped. Studies have shown that even though many dogs don’t outwardly dislike hugs, over 80% of dogs in photos showed signs of stress. While our dogs may tolerate our cuddling and hugging, they may not actually enjoy it.
Reason 5: Your Dog Is a Certain Breed
Certain breeds are more likely to make grunting noises than others. Brachycephalic dog breeds, like bulldogs, pugs, and shih tzus, have flat faces and are more prone to health issues such as breathing problems. These breeds tend to make snorting noises and have difficulty sleeping.
When you cuddle your dog, especially if they are a brachycephalic breed, they might have a harder time breathing normally. After all, a tight hug can leave us feeling winded when we’re not prepared for it!
Reason 6: Your Dog Is Not Used to Cuddling
A grunt from your dog when cuddling could simply mean that they are not used to it!
Do you typically hug your dog? If you’ve recently adopted your pup, they might not be familiar with the act of cuddling or hugging, and the grunt might be their way of letting you know that they are unsure about what is happening.
Remember, newly adopted older dogs may have had different experiences in their past that make cuddling a new and unfamiliar concept.
Reason 7: Your Dog Is Still Young
Puppies are constantly experiencing new things. If you suddenly cuddle your puppy, you might notice that they start to grunt and even squirm around.
Since cuddling might be a new experience for your puppy, they may be wondering what that strange feeling is and may try to break away as soon as possible. Grunting, as mentioned earlier, could be their way of showing that they are unsure and a little uncomfortable.
Observing your puppy’s other behaviors over time can help you determine whether they enjoy cuddling or still find it strange.
Reason 8: Your Dog Might Have Health Concerns
While cuddling might be unpleasant or uncomfortable for some dogs, there are times when your dog feels discomfort due to health concerns, and cuddling might exacerbate it.
Pay attention to signs such as pain when touching your dog’s belly, changes in eating habits and amounts, and respiratory problems. These could be indicators of underlying health issues.
From stomach issues to respiratory problems, there’s a chance that your dog could be facing health concerns that cause them to grunt when you cuddle them. If you suspect something is wrong, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian.
Should You Worry About This Behavior?
Grunting, like other dog behaviors, is a way for our dogs to communicate. As mentioned earlier, there can be various meanings behind grunting – some dogs may enjoy hugging, while others may grunt to express discomfort.
In general, your dog grunting or groaning when you cuddle or hug them is not something to worry about. However, if you suspect that your dog is grunting due to a health-related concern, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. Recognizing what’s considered normal behavior for your dog and observing any changes can help you recognize signs when something is wrong.
Understanding our dogs’ behaviors and body language is crucial since they can’t communicate with us using words. The better we understand why our dogs do what they do, the better we can support them when they need it.
Remember to consider the context and setting of your dog’s behavior, as multiple factors can contribute to their response. By exploring the reasons behind their grunting or groaning, you can develop a happier and healthier relationship with your furry companion.
For more information on a wide range of topics, check out 5 WS here. Happy cuddling with your furry friend!