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Dog Might Not Always Like Your Hugs

Paws up if you agree that cuddling with a fur baby feels calming. Experts say doing so releases feel-good oxytocin in humans. But are canines down for all that canoodling? According to recent data, 82 percent of dogs in Internet photo searches for terms like "hug dog" were exhibiting visible signs of distress. Many pup aficionados (who also happen to be scientists) have since pointed out that

1) the study was not peer-reviewed

2) it was based on looking at random pics of dogs who were being held in order to be photographed, an experience that can be stressful to pets in and of itself. How to size up Max before you make a move:

A pooch who wants you to get closer may come up to you, wiggle, wag his tail, and even rub his head or body against you, says veterinarian Emily Stenseng, D.V.M., of Jersey Village Animal Hospital in Houston.

He's tensing up, cowering, or curling his upper lip. Look for less obvious signs too: ears down; big "puppy dog" eyes that well up (or that squint shut, as if to block you out); head turned away to avoid direct eye contact.

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