If you have a pet dog or know any dogs, you may have noticed that when you pet or scratch their ears, they tilt their head and look overjoyed. I’ve found that when I do this to my dog, she sticks her tongue out and looks content and happy, it truly is adorable. Dogs enjoy little massages just as much as humans do, however like humans, they don’t always enjoy it! Let’s find out why.
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Why dogs react like this
Studies have shown that petting or rubbing your dog’s ears releases endorphins. Your dog’s ears have many nerve endings that react when rubbed.
The nerve endings send little signals to the hypothalamus and pituitary glands (which is located in the brain) and it controls hormones and releases them. By rubbing your dog’s ears, it releases the same endorphins that humans experience after exercise, causing them to feel happy and relaxed.
You can tell if your dog is enjoying getting their ear scratched because you can basically see a grin on their face! With my dog, she tilts her head towards my hand and looks like she is melting into the affection. I love seeing her do this because she looks truly peaceful.
Do all dogs like getting ear rubs?
Even though dogs may enjoy getting ear rubs, they can be picky with who is giving this specific form of affection. Strangers petting your dog’s head or ears may make them nervous, stressed, or even threatened.
If the person giving your dog an ear rub is trusted by your dog and it likes them then it is almost certain that your dog will react positively to the affection. After all, the action releases happy hormones!
Other reasons why your dog might not like head scratches
Another reason your dog might not like getting their head scratched is if they have clipped ears, their ears are very sensitive. This might make ear scratches very uncomfortable or even painful for them.
If you find that your dog who usually enjoys ear scratches suddenly stops or flinches when you try to pet their ear, they might have an ear infection. Some symptoms are whining, scratching or head shaking.
Another cause could be ear mites, if your dog has one then you might see black or brown wax, their ears red or inflamed, excessive itching or smell a strong odour. If you notice changes like these then contact your vet immediately.
Benefits of scratching your dog’s ears
Not only does scratching your dog’s ears make them happy, but it can also help them de-stress! This can strengthen your bond with your pet because they’ll associate your affection with happy emotions.
Another benefit is simply that dogs look so cute when they get their ears rubbed, they look so cheerful, how could you not love that?
Overall, dogs are at ease when they get their ears rubbed by the right people. So, the next time you see your dog, reward them and give them a lovely little ear rub. I know myself that I can’t help but chuckle when I see my dog look so tranquil when I rub her ear.
However, if you do notice something off about your dog’s ears (similar to the symptoms listed previously) please do take them to the vet! I hope you have found this article helpful.