Humans and dogs have built a strong bond that stretches back thousands of years, which explains why these furry, cuddly creatures have long been seen as man’s best friend.
Today, many dog owners have developed strong emotional attachments with their dogs, making them prevalent in many households.
While developing bonds with pets can be cute, people’s attachment to their dogs may often leave them with a feeling of vulnerability that is not always easy to explain or understand.
The fact that we are bound to outlive our dogs is a reality that most dog owners face, and this is why you can hear people say, I love my dog so much it hurts.
While our dogs are still here with us, we have to worry about their health, feeding, shelter, and other areas of their welfare as we do for our kids.
We often grow so close to our adorable furry friends who become such vital parts of our lives that they become family.
While this intimacy can come with specific benefits for you, it can also leave you with a helpless resignation in the long run and a feeling of uncertainty, fear, or doubt.
This article explains why you may feel helpless when you become close to your dog.
Why do I like my dog like a child?
To many of us, our dogs are more than just pets or play companions; they are family, so we treat them like family.
We tend to love and care for our dogs almost the same way as we care for our kids, and this feeling is not always easy to process.
When people ask, why do I like my dog like a child, it most often comes from a place of concern.
You’re not acting weird if you genuinely care for your dog and think about their welfare.
These canine creatures, with their wagging tails and large ears, are easy to love and tend to, and here are a few reasons why you end up treating them like your child.
1. They grow up with us and our kids
While dogs do not quite have the longevity of humans, it is not uncommon to live out your childhood or that of your kids with the same dog.
If you get a puppy at any point, you can expect to get a few good dog years with them before you say goodbye.
Similarly, most people get their first real taste of canine companionship as kids growing up with puppies their size and age.
Growing up with your dog means you get to share lots of memories and moments together, and this is where we get the emotional attachment to our dogs.
Our dogs learn to understand our emotions over several years of living with us, and like our kids, we want and tend to reciprocate almost naturally.
Our kids love and adore their dogs and long-time friends, and because we love our kids, we’ll have to love their furry companions too.
2. They keep us company
The human desire and need to enjoy companionship are significant factors that endear us to our dogs.
These furry creatures naturally stick to their owners or favorite persons without holding back.
For many people, the long hours of friendly and playful company dogs give out is a precious asset, and it is not entirely difficult to imagine why.
Unlike humans, dogs can not complain, bear grudges, or become tired of human company.
They can tag along on long walks to the gym and distant journeys, and you’ll not hear as much as a whisper of discontent or disdain from them.
3. They give us a sense of purpose and responsibility
Caring for a dog is only sometimes going to be smooth sailing; in fact, it rarely is. You must look after their health, feeding, shelter, and other welfare areas.
For many people, this brings a sense of duty, knowing that you’re responsible for the wellbeing of a life around you, a little bit like it does with children.
This feeling of duty can give rise to a sense of purpose and an acknowledgment of your importance, regardless of the unique circumstances.
4. They love us unconditionally
Have you ever made a child cry one moment only to watch them cling to you the next moment, utterly oblivious of the previous little incident?
This is precisely how dogs are, incapable of keeping malice or remembering any perceived past misdeeds.
Our furry friends only know how to love us and show how much they care for us. They never have scores to settle with us or go on mood swings like grown-up people.
This is why dogs make the best friends with humans, as our natural selfishness goes unnoticed during our interactions with them.
5. They are loyal
Dogs are loyal to a fault, which is why it is difficult to fault their relationship with us humans. Regardless of the prevailing circumstances, they can not cut ties with us or turn their back on us.
This unalloyed loyalty and commitment is a sticker to most people, and this is why humans have always seemed to favor dogs.
Our dogs come around in the good and bad times, and they have a natural instinctive urge to protect us in the face of looming or present danger.
We care for them and show them affection in return for their loyalty, which is more than enough for our furry friends.
6. They protect us fiercely
Dogs have the instinct to protect their owners from any perceived danger, a gift we humans are most grateful for.
Their sharp senses and strong wits make them capable of sensing danger from afar, and their natural response is to protect you from that danger in the best way they can.
As humans, we appreciate that our dogs will always have our best interests and look out for us, so we owe it to them to help them the best way we can.
While our dogs spare no expense in committing to ensuring our safety, it is only natural that we grow fonder of them.
It is our way of acknowledging their devotion to us, which is why we love our cuddly buddies.
Is It Possible To Love A Dog Like a Child
The strength of our emotional attachment to our dogs can sometimes have us questioning ourselves.
You may ask yourself, “Am I not doing too much?” or “Is it okay to love my dog as I love my child.” If you ask this last question, the answer is “yes,” and this is a fact proven by science.
A 2014 study by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital proved this. It showed that women’s brains received similar signals of maternal affection when shown pictures of children aged 2 to 12 and a dog they’ve had in their homes for at least a year.
Here are a few other reasons why it is possible to love a child and a dog in the same way or nearly so.
1. The oxytocin subject
Our brains produce the hormone oxytocin in response to intimate interactions with people around us.
This phenomenon is not exclusive to humans alone, and dogs have been found to have the same effect on our brains as our loved ones do.
When dogs cuddle up to us, licking and rubbing away playfully at our faces and bodies, much like little kids, they trigger the release of these brain chemicals in our heads.
This release is accompanied by a feeling of love, affection, and friendliness, and we are naturally inclined to return the favor to our furry friends.
This is why we can love our dogs as we love our kids.
2. The result of consistency
Dogs are relentless in their devotion and affection to their owners, so it is easy to fall in love with them.
The human mind is wired to grow fonder of faces that show up more, and our dogs tick this box as they make an ever-present fixture around our homes every other year.
If you can love your child the moment they are born and continue loving them as they grow older, you should have no problem transferring some of that affection to your ever-present canine companion.
3. They have feelings and personality
As odd as this might sound, dogs have feelings too. They may not be capable of displaying their emotions or acting on them, almost similar to how kids behave.
Their personality shows in how they interact with us, so you know what food they like, which places they love going to, and other specific details about their welfare.
As a dog parent, you should be able to give your dog the appropriate care they deserve, according to the character they exhibit.
While caring for a child and a dog is not the same thing, nor does it require the same effort levels, you can attend to both needs with a little effort, regardless of how distinct they are.
When you return home, you’ll be rewarded for your care with a big wiggle of the tail and several wide-eyed, frenzied jumps.
4. They understand us and know how to reciprocate
Our canine friends know when we are happy, sad, sick, or stressed.
These furry creatures can also precisely match our cortisol levels so they know when we are about to fight or take flight. All of this makes for a companion that can get on the same page with us.
They can cuddle up to us when we’ve just had a bad day and stick to our side when they sense fear in us or danger ahead.
In the same vein, dogs can feel when we are happy, and they’ll return every act of affection, care, and love shown towards them with the best response they can give.
Humans love it when our good deeds are acknowledged and appreciated; dogs know all about this.
5. They depend on us
Your dog needs to eat, drink water, pass out feces, and bathe daily as your child does.
As they can not quickly help themselves with these everyday needs, they turn to us for help, which makes us responsible for their welfare.
Just like our kids, they depend on us for their sustenance and survival in a way that is almost comforting and fulfilling, which is why we have such a strong attachment to our dogs.
Our human nature predisposes us to show our reliability in the face of responsibility, and this is the same for dogs as it is for our children.
This is why we naturally tend to our dogs and their every need.
This natural instinct to protect and care for our loved ones is very quickly triggered when the other party is most vulnerable or solely dependent on us, and this is very often the picture for our dogs as it is for our kids.
Humans have cultivated an enduring relationship with dogs for a very long time, and this relationship will not always be easy to process for some people.
Our attachment to our dogs may often feel abnormal, almost like we are dealing with a child. If you have ever questioned, why you love your dog so much like a child, you are not alone.
Many of us want to know why it hurts to love our dogs so much, and this article explores why you might be feeling this way.
The verdict is that there’s no shame in loving your dog like a child, so you’re not doing anything wrong or strange.