National Hand Holding Day is celebrated every year on August 9, this is a day that was created to encourage people to hold hands as a way to emphasize the importance of touch and encourage affection towards loved ones.
However, it makes perfect sense to us as dog lovers to rip off this day as our own since holding hands with a loved one can certainly include a dog, and holding a paw has so many great benefits!
What Your Dog Is Trying to Say When Your Dog Tries to Hold Your Hand
Dogs seem to have two primary ways that they try to hold your hand and each behavior means something slightly different. Dogs either try to mouth your hand very gently or put their paw on your hand, arm or leg when you are petting them.
According to JenLovespets When you are petting your dog, and he puts his paw on your arm or leg, he is kind of like petting you back. While most dogs can’t do an actual stroking action, laying their paw on you is a sign of affection, closeness, and trust. This is his way of creating a special bond with you. It can also signal I like that, don’t stop, especially if you’ve been petting him for several minutes, and you stop, and he reaches for your hand, he’s telling you more, please!
When your dog takes your hand and gently mouths your hand, kind of like trying to hold your hand with their mouth they usually want attention. They could also be directing your attention to something they want to do, like go for a walk.
Four Benefits of Holding a Paw With Your Dog
Researchers have identified several benefits to holding hands that we think equally apply to holding your dog’s paws.
Holding our Dog’s Paws Helps Us Express Love
Holding our dog’s paws, like when people hold hands is a simple yet powerful way to show affection. Just like petting your dog holding their paw shows affection.
Holding Paws Reduces Stress
Studies have shown that holding hands releases oxytocin into the body, which simply has to equate equally to holding your furry friend’s paws. Oxytocin is a hormone that is capable of lowering stress and anxiety levels. In our article How Pets Help With Mental Health we discuss the many ways that researchers are discovering how pets help with mental health, including:
- Hugging and cuddling with a pet, who won’t judge you for your feelings, is cathartic. It helps people get through rough times and depression.
- Pets love us unconditionally. The depth of this love is a continuous joy.
- Pets provide the health benefits of daily walks and the social delights of meeting other dog walkers.
- The responsibility of caring for pets teaches kids to be responsible, kind, and compassionate.
- Pets also reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression, giving people a reason to get up in the morning.
- Pets can provide you with emotional support as you go about your day. Cuddling up with a pet can boost your spirits when you are feeling low.
See other articles on Pets and Mental Health:
Holding Paws is a Way to Bond
Physically connecting our bodies with another person or a dog also creates emotional and psychological bonds with the people and dogs that we love.
See other articles on Bonding and Enjoying Life With a Dog:
Holding Paws Is a Way to Get Your Dog Accustomed to Pet Care
You may have been through the struggle of cutting your dog’s nails (we have a laugh about this and funny ways to manage in Motherpuppin’ Adorable: What to do when your dog is better than everyone else’s) but the struggle can be real. The more you touch and play with your dog’s paws the easier dog care becomes.
Holding Hands Day, like other days that celebrate and bring attention to certain common and routine things in our life (World Pizza Day! National Pet Day, National Mutt Day and so much more) can bring attention to it and the benefits that we may overlook in the bustle. Take the time this Hold Your Hands Day to stop a moment and hold a paw!