Did you ever wonder why your dog adores ear rubs? The answer to your dog’s bliss goes deeper than you may think. Learn more and get tips for giving your dog the ultimate ear massage.

Your dog wants you to know something. Although the way to his heart is through his stomach (and of course, spending time with you!), there’s a good chance it’s also through his ears. You’ve seen the signs when you rub your dog’s ears, his eyes close in contentment, and may even fall asleep — he’s in doggie bliss.

How come ear rubs are adored by nearly all dogs?

It’s the undivided attention a person gives their dog and their gentle touch, that goes without saying. And it’s all of the nerves present in a dog’s ears; a dog’s ears are sensitive to the touch because they contain a network of nerve branches, and the nerves send impulses throughout the body. When you rub your dog’s ears, endorphins, which are the natural ‘feel good’ hormones, are released and relax and calm your dog. And even better, studies demonstrate that people benefit just the same. Simply the act of petting a dog or cat releases human endorphins, it’s just one of the many benefits of sharing your home with a pet.

How to rub your dog’s ears

Every dog is different, but Woof Reporter Larry, a Lab-Border collie mix, is in absolute bliss when I rub his ears from the base down to the very tips of his ears. I also gently rub the inner ear folds with my fingers or knuckles and gently squeeze the folders of his ears as I move them in a circular motion. Try various methods to find your dog’s favorite methods!

Next up, stretch your fingers, find a comfy spot, and give your dog a nice long ear rub – you will both enjoy it greatly!

The Scoop:

Thank you to the Richmond Animal League on flickr for the photo of Talladega.

Originally published November 2010, reviewed and updated August 2017.