Canines are super-affectionate with their family, and that’s precisely how things should be. However, sometimes, Fido’s behavior can undergo a rapid change that leaves you perplexed. A common query among pet parents is, why is my dog suddenly overly affectionate?
Dogs are suddenly affectionate due to anxiety, sudden changes in their daily life, or trying to maintain body temperature. Other times, canines can also show extreme fondness because they’re to bond with you or because being petted and cuddled makes them feel good.
But, how do you figure out which one of these reasons is behind your puppy’s unexpected sentiment? That’s easy! Just grab a comfy seat as we break down the science behind unusual doggy affection.
Reasons Your Dog Is Overly Affectionate
A doggy that’s a little too affectionate may become a problem if it starts getting too clingy. However, to find a viable solution, you need to understand the core cause behind your pet’s conduct. And, that’s precisely what we’re going to be discussing in this section.
Some canine breeds are prone to developing anxiety, and generally, it’s driven by three factors – age, fear, and separation. As your dog ages and undergoes physiological changes, such as weakening eyesight or motor skills, etc. and it’s natural for it to feel uneasy because of it.
On the other hand, fear-related anxiety can be brought on by strange stimuli, such as loud noises, new environments, and other new sensations. While some dogs experience a quick reaction, others can develop a more lasting response.
Separation anxiety is typically found in canine breeds that are highly attached to their families. This type of nervousness is often brought on when pets are left on their own for long periods or if their favorite human(s) is away for some time.
No matter the cause behind your pet’s anxiety, it can manifest as your pet behaving overly affectionate with you. Other symptoms of anxiety-related affection include excessive barking, pacing, crying, or drooling.
Abrupt Change In Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit and don’t take to abrupt changes in their routine very well. That’s why your pet may be exhibiting extreme affection due to some recent new developments in your household.
From moving homes to bringing in a new pet or even a visitor – things that may seem normal to you can freak your dog out very easily. That’s one reason why pet experts recommend easing canines into changes not to experience negative side-effects behavior-wise.
Canines in the prime of their lives are pretty adept at managing their body temperatures. But, little puppies and senior dogs aren’t too adept at keeping warm during frigid winter months because of their weak systems.
If your pet’s cuddles are increasing in direct proportion to the decrease in temperature, then it’s very likely that Fido’s overt affection has something to do with staying toasty warm.
Additionally, if you’ve also noticed your canine snuggling under blankets – you can be pretty sure it’s trying to preserve body heat.
Another sure-shot sign of your dog trying to keep warm during winters is sleeping in a curled-up position because this too helps keep the chill at bay.
Human social connections are built on affection and trust. The more time you spend with an individual, the better you get to know them, and the deeper your bond becomes.
But, your little furry companion can’t count on words to express its feelings and instead relies on actions to let you know how much it loves you. That’s why what you’re mistaking for extreme affection can only be your pet’s way of bonding with you.
What’s more, if your pet’s way of showing affection includes actions like nudging, licking, or following you where you go – be sure your canine’s just trying to tell you you’re its favorite human, which isn’t something to worried about at all.
The Feel Good Factor
Oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone,’ is secreted by the pituitary gland in humans and is typically released when you’re attracted to someone or in the company of people you like and love.
The body releases oxytocin when your dopamine and serotonin levels increase, which leads to a surge of positive emotion.
What does any of this have to do with your canine? Well, researchers at the Azabu University in Sagamihara, Japan, have discovered that dogs too experience an increase in oxytocin levels after interacting with their owners for some time.
And, that’s why one possible reason behind your dog being overly affectionate is that it’s trying to make itself feel good. Think of this as the doggy equivalent of eating chocolate.
Is It Normal For Dogs To Be Overly Affectionate
It’s normal for your canine to be a little too enthusiastic in expressing its love at times. This can be due to various reasons, ranging from anxiety to conserving body heat, and it can even be your dog’s way of bonding with you.
Although, you should note that if your pet’s extreme affection lasts for more than a few weeks, you should try and investigate the reasons behind it. That’s mainly because dogs suffering from anxiety or fear also tend to become overly affectionate and may require expert help to get over their nervousness.
What’s more, you should also observe if it’s anything you do that sets off your canine’s needy antics. For example, sometimes excessive petting can also make your dog think that behaving in a clingy manner is something good or acceptable.
If you notice your pet’s behavior worsens once you start cuddling, you may need to train it to understand that cuddle time isn’t all the time.
Why Is My Dog Cuddling More Than Usual
Your pet may be suddenly more cuddly than usual because it’s trying to make itself feel better. Believe it or not, Fido’s body releases a hormone known as oxytocin when you make eye contact with it or pet it. Oxytocin is also known as the ‘love hormone,’ and naturally, once it’s released in your canine’s body, your dog feels happy.
Plus, if there aren’t any worrying details like excessive barking or pacing (which can point towards anxiety-related concerns), it’s possible that your pet’s just figured out spending time with you is the quickest way to feeling positive emotions.
Why Is My Old Dog Suddenly Clingy
Suppose your canine is on the threshold of entering its golden years. In that case, you should be prepared for your pet to experience some related physiological changes like weakening eyesight and hearing, joint inflammation, reduced appetite, etc.
These changes don’t have to be related to an illness. Instead, it’s just the natural process of your dog aging.
However, these changes can be disorienting for your pet first and can lead to distress, unease, and clingy behavior.
You can make your canine’s life easier by consulting with your vet on how to ease your pet into these changes. For example, cataracts are pretty common among aging dogs but can be corrected through cataract surgery which has a 90% success rate in canines.
Do Dogs Become More Affectionate With Age
Aging canines can be more affectionate with age for multiple reasons. As your pet ages, its reliance on you grows in terms of feeding, care, and maintenance.
And, canines are very conscious of the effort humans put in for their care, which is one reason why your pet can become more cuddly in its old age.
Another reason is that because older dogs don’t have the same energy drive as their younger counterparts, they tend to (or prefer to) spend more time in their owners’ company instead of running around chasing things or digging around in the backyard.
One of the most confusing things for a canine parent is figuring out the difference between anxiety-related and emotion-related affection.
But, learning the difference between the two is vital to get your dog the help it needs if it’s feeling distressed. Here are some factors you should keep in mind to correctly identify the underlying cause behind your furball’s antics.
How To Identify The Cause Behind Your Dog’s Increased Affection
Suppose you have reason to believe your pet’s affectionate or clingy manners have anything to do with anxiety. In that case, the quickest way to figure things out is to look for associated symptoms. Here are some of the common signs canines suffering from anxiety tend to display:
● Eliminating (urinating or defecating) in the house
● Excessive barking
● Drooling more than usual
● Destructive behaviors like chewing furniture or shoes
● Lack of energy
Possible Solutions For Anxiety In Dogs
If your furbaby is exhibiting one or more signs of anxiety, don’t stress out. You can try out one of the possible solutions to help your dog feel better.
Professional dog trainers can help you employ several helpful training techniques to make your dog get over its unease.
These counterconditioning techniques can help your pet cope with the cause behind its anxiety by shifting the focus from disturbing stimuli to more positive sources, like you.
Your vet can refer your furry companion with some anxiety medications or natural therapies if they feel the situation calls for it.
Drugs like benzodiazepine or antidepressants can help your pup relax in stress-inducing circumstances like car rides. On the other hand, products like aromatherapy and pheromones are also beneficial depending on what your pet responds to best.