Making sure your pup is well fed, gets plenty of exercise and the right worming treatments can be a big job.
But how can you tell if your furry best friend appreciates your efforts in making their life as enjoyable as it can be?
Sydney vet Dr Leigh Davidson, from Your Vet Online, has lifted the lid on the typical signs your dog is just as in love with you as you are with them.
There are certain behaviours they will exhibit, Dr Leigh told Yahoo News Australia, including wanting to be constantly close and giving you lots of sloppy kisses.
“If a dog loves you of course they will be relaxed around you and they will not show signs of anxiety or fear,” the vet said.
They will typically have open and happy body language, Dr Leigh added, along with a relaxed and “wiggly wobbly body”.
Some dog owners might be familiar with their pet always wanting to be in their space by sitting on their feet or on their lap while they sit and watch TV.
This is a true sign of love, Dr Leigh said, and often is paired with a dog trying to get up close to its owner’s face for a good licking.
A dog in love will also have a relaxed tail, ears and eyes, and will approach you for one of their favourite things – a snuggle.
If your dog is overly ecstatic when you return home from work or some time away, they most certainly love you, Dr Leigh said.
They might even pine after you if you’ve left them for a prolonged period by refusing food, or staying close to things that remind them of you.
Dr Leigh said often if a dog goes missing from a farm, their owner will leave out an item of clothing with the hope the animal will smell it and stay close until found.
A long and deep gaze in your direction can also signify your dog’s love – not to be confused with a cranky dog lining you up for a bite.
If your dog is curling part of its lips up while staring at you, it’s probably best you give them some space rather than go in for a cuddle.
Dr Leigh added that not all dogs showed their love in the same way. Some exert more of some signs than others because each dog is an individual, just like people.
It’s not all about love
Sydney Dog Trainer and Behaviourist George Tran told Yahoo News Australia owners should place the importance on attaining respect from their dog rather than love.
“It’s easy to get a dog to love you, but respect is the hard part. Respect is where a lot of people get it wrong,” Mr Tran said.
“It comes down to leadership, if you have good leadership and have shown consistent leadership, your dog will know it can rely on you.”
Mr Tran said establishing clear boundaries with your dog can help them trust you, and thus experience less fear and anxiety when in your company.
He added the majority of issues he saw when working with problem animals were issues created through a lack of respect, and rarely a lack a love.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.