05/03/2013 11:21 am ET Updated Jul 03, 2013

The Weird, Wonderful Ways Your Pet Shows Love for You

I get a lot of questions from clients at my natural pet animal clinic along the lines of, "Why does my dog (or cat) do... ?"

The behavior of the companion animals we share our lives with is at times fascinating, frequently entertaining, and sometimes downright puzzling.

Here are a few examples of how the furry love of your life shows affection.

Feline Behaviors That Signal Love is in the Air

  • Bunting. If your cat rubs against your cheek or bumps heads with you, he's leaving his scent on you. This is called "bunting" and it's a form of feline affection. Bunting is reserved for a cat's most favorite creatures -- including the human he considers his own!
  • Rolling. When Fluffy drops to the ground at your feet and rolls around on her back, she's saying,"Look at me! How about a tummy rub?" Exposing her belly puts your cat in a vulnerable position, so this gesture is only extended to those she loves and trusts.
  • Bearing gifts. Some cats bring their owners gifts in the form of toys, dead bugs, even mice. If your cat brings you such treasures he is sharing his "prey" with you -- a sure sign of his love and devotion. Don't forget to heap on the praise!
  • Napping on your lap. In case you hadn't noticed, your kitty sleeps a lot. Like up to 16 hours a day! Falling asleep makes your cat vulnerable, so she'll only snooze in safe spots. If one of those spots is your lap, you should feel honored.
  • Love eyes. Cat eyes are quite large. In fact, if your eyes were proportionately as large as your cat's, they'd stretch all the way across your face! If your kitty puts his face close to yours and stares with huge, wide open eyes at you, then blinks slowly, he's showing you how much he loves and trusts you.

And They Called It Puppy Love

  • Cuddling. Many dogs yearn to be as physically close to their humans as possible. If your pup snuggles up next to you every chance she gets, rest assured she loves you and everything about you.
  • Locking eyes. If your pup gazes into your eyes and there's no obvious reason for his attention (he needs a walk, for example, or he wants your dinner), he's showing his extraordinary devotion and love for you. He literally can't take his eyes off you.
  • Following you around. If you're the primary object of your dog's devotion, she'll follow you everywhere you allow her to. Your dog wants to be wherever her beloved human is, and she'll tirelessly follow you from room to room, or to the ends of the earth, just to be in your company.
  • Using your lap as a headrest. If your pup wanders up and rests his head in your lap, it's a sign of trust and devotion. And an invitation to pet him, of course!
  • Licking. Whether you enjoy wet, sloppy canine smooches or refuse to tolerate them, licking is a form of affection for your dog, very similar to kissing in humans.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at:

Her goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.

By reading Dr. Becker's information, you'll learn how to make impactful, consistent lifestyle choices to improve your pet's quality of life.

For more by Dr. Karen Becker, click here.

For more on pet health, click here.