Puppies. Oh, my gosh. Puppies!
It doesn’t matter what type, breed, or size, they all make our hearts sing and our souls giggle a little. But, what’s the fascination? Why do we all get so excited about puppies? Here are five scientific reasons why people love puppies.
Who doesn’t LOVE puppy breff? Raise your paws if you’d consider a candle in this fragrance…I would spring for it immediately. We all know that the sweet puppy smell only lasts for a few short weeks until your little houndlet discovers the amazing taste of cat poop. From what heavenly place does the sweet smell of puppy breath emanate?
Quite simply, puppy breath comes from the mother. In Tisha Berg’s article, “Puppy Breath: Why You Love It and How to Prolong the Sweetness,” she quotes veterinarian Dr. Thomas E. Catanzaro. Dr. C states that puppies are still drinking their mother’s milk.
“They are not yet exposed to the sometimes stinky foods that larger dogs eat,” he notes.
The good doctor also points out that young dogs have clean mouths—another of the reasons why people love puppies so much.
In the same article, California vet Dr. Jeff Werber adds that puppies haven’t started to teethe yet.
“Once they are teething, their gums bleed and the pooled blood can start to cause unpleasant smells,” reported Werber. He also says that plaque and bacteria can cause more bad odors.
In order to prolong the sweet puppy breath, keep your pup’s teeth clean and try to keep them out of the litter box.
Admit it, you’ve squeezed a puppy before just to make him grunt. I can hardly stand the cuteness of puppy grunts. Just thinking about that sound is enough to make my heart melt.
It turns out I’m not the only one enjoying complete contentment in the puppy grunt exchange. In an article for Bark, Nicholas Dodman and Lawrence Lindner break down the meaning of puppy grunts.
According to Dodman and Lindner, “A grunt from a puppy is a communications of pleasure.”
Basically, a grunting puppy is telling you that you’re cozy and warm or that your companionship makes them happy. Not only are puppy grunts ridiculously cute, they are also a signal of complete contentment. SQUEEEEEE—one of my favorite of the five scientific reasons why people love puppies so much.
Accompanied by the sweet smell of puppy breath, puppy kisses are beyond adorable. Especially when little kids are the recipient of a whole face lick.
According to Dodman and Lindner, puppy kisses aren’t really kisses though. Sometimes, they are mimicking a behavior used with their mother. Young dogs lick their mother’s lips to entice her to regurgitate food for a truly pup-tastic little snack. While puppies soon learn that most humans don’t hurl in response to a lick, animal-loving humans tend to respond positively to this behavior with more pats and snuggles. The encouragement allows the licking behavior to continue.
Licking can also be a sign of a puppy or dog attempting to establish dominance. By watching your pup’s other behavior, you should be able to tell whether she wants you to vomit some kibble or kneel in deference to her every whim. In all honesty, it could be a little of both!
Psychologically, another of the reasons we love puppies so much is because they simply make us happy. In an article titled “Why Do We Love Our Pets?” for Psychology Today, Gwen Cooper writes that humans are pack animals.
“It is essential to our nature—from an evolutionary perspective, it’s been essential to our survival as a species—to make others happy,” Cooper writes.
She adds, “It’s so easy to make an animal happy—so much easier than it seems to be to make other people happy.”
How true is this? When a puppy curls up in your lap and falls asleep, you know that something about YOU made that little critter feel comfortable and safe enough to snooze. When your pup is happy to see you and wiggles and wags, you know that he values and loves you beyond all sense of reason.
In a perfect world, people would treat each other with the same enthusiasm that our pups greet us with each day. Unfortunately, people just don’t get that excited about each other. From that lonely place, we humans reach out to the canine among us. These five scientific reasons why people love puppies then seem more grounded in our hearts and souls, rather than fixed in the world of numbers and data. Simply put, until humans feel safe enough to interact with each other with complete zest and unbridled adoration, we have puppies. Thank God we have puppies.