As dog lovers, we can’t walk from one end of the street to the other without stopping to speak to every dog that we see. We can’t help it!
You know with a dog that you’re pretty much guaranteed a warm welcome, along with a genuine look of satisfaction when we slip into our ‘dog talking’ voice and give them a good old stroke.
Whilst one dog trainer has warned against patting dogs on the head, it seems that the surrounding area could actually help set them at ease…
Dogs love having their ears rubbed and, apparently, it’s all down to nerves!
Dogs have three nerve centres on their bodies: on their belly, between their toes and ears. This means that those areas are particularly sensitive to touch and rubbing them brings about a sense of relaxation.
This feeling of relaxation spreads all the way into their body and internal organs, making them feel good both inside and out. Much like reflexology, there is a complete map of the canine body on their ears, and applying pressure activates nerve impulses that directly stimulate specific organs.
The Science Behind It
Whilst it might initially seem simple, the response of a dog when having their ears stroked is actually quite complex.
The act of stroking their ears stimulates the pituitary and hypothalamus glands which releases endorphins. The secretion of these feel-good, pain-killing hormones makes a dog feel relaxed to the point where they’re somewhat in a trance.
In short, it’s like a natural tranquilliser!
It’s also a good bonding exercise, as dogs crave the attention of their owners and love to feel connected with them. Similarly, research has found that humans have a similar response when interacting with their dogs, also triggering an endorphin response.
This ultimately helps us to relax and can result in a lowered blood pressure.
So, there you have it – next time you get home from work and just want to settle down, give your dog’s ears a good old rub and you’ll both be relaxed in no time!
Work full time and looking for regular pet care? Perhaps Tailster can help! We have a range of vetted carers across the UK, available to care for your pet as and when you require. For more information, click here.