They say a dog is “man’s best friend”.
Dogs bring immense happiness and joy to their owners, but is your dog as happy as you are?
Do you wonder what your dog is trying to tell you with their bark, or how they wag their tail?
Is there a difference in how Fido acts when he wants food versus a walk?
Does Fluffy get upset when you leave for work for the day?
Keep reading to learn how to decipher canine emotions.
Dogs have the emotional capacity of a young child, meaning they can experience joy, anger, and fear, however also like a child they lack the words to tell us how they are feeling.
Luckily, there are other signs we can look for, as cues of general wellness of how our animal friends are feeling.
Let’s have a look at them.
Signs Your Dog Is Happy
We all want our friends to be happy, and the same goes for non-human friends.
Keep reading to learn some of the signs your dog is happy.
1. Peaceful, Non-Destructive Behaviour
Dogs chew things.
That’s a fact of dog-life, as they use their mouth to learn about their environments. You probably would too if you didn’t have opposable thumbs.
However if they don’t have enough physical and mental stimulation (and chew toys), this natural behaviour can result in destructive habits.
If an adult dog is excessively chewing things it could be a sign of anxiety, stress, or boredom. Try introducing some stimulating activities into your dog’s life – even if it’s a new chew toy – or play some tug-of-war or fetch.
2. They Wag Their Tail In A Certain Way
Have you ever seen a dog wag its tail so vigorously their whole body seems to move with it?
Not only is this adorable, it tends to indicate the dog is happy.
3. They Have A Healthy Appetite
Did your pup, who used to come running simply at the sound of the closet where their food is stored being opened, suddenly lose their appetite?
Or are they suddenly (even more) hungry than usual?
This could be a sign Fido isn’t feeling well. They may have gastrointestinal concerns that need to be addressed, or they might have a toothache that makes it painful to chomp down on their kibble. Either way, it’s a good idea to call us and book an appointment with your vet.
4. They Have A Good Sleep Schedule
While for humans, we’re often lucky if we can get a solid eight hours of sleep in a night, our canine friends need a lot more.
A happy, healthy adult dog can sleep for up to 16 hours a day.
More (or less) may be a sign that something is wrong, and a vet visit is in order – especially if you’re noticing drastic changes in your dog’s regular schedule for no apparent reason.
5. They Have Soft, Relaxed Eyes And Ears
Just like humans, dogs carry a lot of tension in their faces, and when they’re relaxed,
When a dog is happy, their eyes are relaxed and they blink frequently, and they will relax their ears.
Conversely, a narrowed gaze may indicate aggression and wide eyes can indicate fear.
Ears which are pricked forward indicate interest in something nearby, and pinned back ears can also indicate fear.
6. They’re Excited For Play Time
Most dogs love walks and playtime so much that some owners resort to spelling things out (“It’s almost time for our W-A-L-K”) to avoid over-exciting their furry friends before an outing.
So if your dog is reluctant to go for a walk or not engaging in play time, this may be a sign of not feeling well.
7. They Show Their Belly
Showing their belly and allowing (and enjoying) belly rubs is a sign your dog is comfortable and happy.
Your dog is most vulnerable near their belly, so when they lie on their back it means they’re so comfortable in their surroundings that they can let their guard down entirely.
This is a good sign.
8. They Have A Healthy Coat
Stressed dogs shed more than normal, and sometimes their skin can be flakey.
Skin issues may also be an indicator of disease.
A healthy, shiny coat is a sign your dog is happy and relaxed.
9. They Lean Into Physical Contact
Does your dog love being petted?
If they love to cuddle up close to you, and lean into your hand it’s a good sign of happiness.
Avoidance or walking away is a sign of needing more space.
10. They’re Happy To See You
There’s nothing better than coming home from a day at the office, and being greeted by an excited dog who almost bursts through the door while you’re still unlocking it.
Sure, maybe their angling for a treat or a walk, but the fact is, they’re still happy to see you.
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital
Do you want to best for your furry friend?
Is it time for your annual check-up, or is there a specific issue you are worried about?
Our team at Bickford Park Animal Hospital can help.
Contact us today – we can’t wait to meet you, and your dog.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.