These 23 Animals Prove Why National Hug Day Is So Important

Hugs — the perfect source of affection, right? Kisses aren't appropriate for every occasion, but you can never go wrong with a hug. They are perfect for family, for your partner, for your best friends, and even your animals. Yep, I'm willing to bet that animals hugging people are the best kind of hugs.

Maybe it's because animals are known for their unconditional love. When you give a dog your time, your energy, and your love, they give it back a million times over. Trust is huge to them, and a hug is their way of telling you just how much they love you. Even animals that aren't necessarily pets, like elephants or lions, have been known to give a hug to those they trust and love. A study has found that not only do hugs make us feel good, but hugs also have health benefits and can prevent people from getting sick. And science has proven that having a pet keeps people calm. So combine a hug with a loving animal and you've just got a really cute way to rid yourself of anxiety and keep you in tip top shape.

Hugs are so lovely that there's an entire day to celebrate them — Jan. 21. So in honor of National Hug Day, here are 23 perfect gifs of animals hugging people. If you're feeling a little down, this is the perfect medicine next to giving your own pup a squeeze.


The Real Lion King

They look just like Simba and Nala and this is the only way I would ever become a cat lady.


He Looks Just Like Beethoven

I can't. I can't handle how sweetly that dog lets that baby hug its neck.


Keep Hugging Me

This cat is not done hugging you, sir, and I'm going to need you to continue the cuddle sesh.


I Missed You

I have never seen anyone so happy. That lion is me when my boyfriend walks in after a few days of not seeing him. (I don't jump so gracefully though.)


Hi, I Love You

I don't know, that cat's like, "I think you need a hug." I mean, even switches sides like the French.


I'm Just Gonna Stay Right Here

This cat knows all about the importance of petting while hugging.


The Drunk BFF Hug

This is how I hug my BFF after I've had some tequila. "I love you. I love you so much."


Come Here, You Big Lug

This dog's all, "Shh. Just hug me."


I'm Here

I will pout every day for the rest of my life if it means a sweet puppy is going to jump up and hug me.


All The Squishies

Rolls upon rolls and all this hugging is just too much for me. Too much!


Tackle Hug

I want to be tackle hugged by a baby elephant and I want it NOW.


The Travel Hug

This koala's all, "Take me with you, OK?" I used to call my little girl a koala for this exact movement.


The Giant Panda Hug

That panda's all, sure, hug me, but I'm just gonna eat this bamboo, too. What a multi-tasker.


Group Hug

Look at all of them coming in for a group hug! Ugh. The sweetest, right?


Hugs From Your Favorite Food

This one makes me want to be a vegetarian.


Alright Hug Me Then

The dog was all nonchalant and then was all, "Alright, get in here, bro."


And This One Is Mine

Two things. One, I am obsessed by how sweetly this dog hugs this baby. Two, I am equally obsessed with how happy the baby is with this arrangement.


Nope, I'm Not Done

Who needs a blanket when you can be hugged by this dog all night long?


Better Than A Genie In A Bottle

I will open all of the boxes for a hug from this little fella.


Hey, It's Cold Out Here

This penguin's all, "Is that a Northface? Get in here, girl."


When Pugs Attack

Best. Hugs. Ever.


You're My Favorite

The way he closes his eyes while hugging is my absolute favorite. Can I have a pet lion now?


You're Going To Be OK

Shh, you don't have to go to the gym. You just lay here and watch Netflix with me and eat pizza rolls.

Images: DavideGoria/Flickr; Giphy (23)