It’s a question every pet parent asks time and again. Is my dog happy? If you have a question, we are always here to answer. So, let’s find out if they’re happy.
Dogs have the emotional capacity of a 2½-year-old toddler and if you watch a child that young, you will notice that the child can get angry, sad, happy, excited. They feel all the emotions you feel and research shows that dogs undergo the same emotions too. They also have the same hormonal secretions as humans when they are angry or happy or sad etc.
Is My Dog Happy?
It’s completely normal for dogs to throw a tantrum now and again, but for the most part, we want them to be happy. Here are some things your dog will do if they are happy.
When dogs are happy they have a similar facial expression as when they love you and the environment they’re living in.
They tend to be calm and relaxed and it usually shows on their face. Their facial muscles will relax, they may even have a slight pant, their ears will be relaxed and so will their tail.
If their ears are pulled back it means they are energetic or anxious.
A happy dog is not destructive. If your dog is biting things, pawing on things ripping things apart they are not feeling happy. Many misunderstand this as playfulness but really they are feeling anxious. They are actually throwing a tantrum.
This is similar to dogs with separation anxiety where they will ruin furniture and walls because they are anxious and scared.
A happy dog is usually relaxed, often cuddled up next to you with relaxed facial expressions; sometimes asleep.
Usually, happy dogs feel comfortable to be petted. They usually lean into you when you pet them and they ask for more pets by pushing their head onto your hand or showing you their belly.
When their face is relaxed and partially open with their exposed belly, they are relaxed and happy. This distinction is important because sometimes dogs expose their bellies when they want to show submissive behaviour. Their face is not relaxed when they are being submissive.
A happy dog plays by the rules. At the start of play, most dogs will bow as an invitation to play. They do this with both dogs and humans. So, when your dog comes to you with a bow (meaning their rear is up in the air and their chest is near the ground) they are happy and they want to play!
Like every other living being, dogs tend to slow down as they grow older, but even then, dogs of all ages are playful, and when they are playful, they are happy!
As their pet parent, we are sure you will know when they are in a playful mood. They usually bring their toy and ask you to play with them. In a dog park, a happy dog will be relaxed and playful around other dogs. They will follow all the doggy rules of play.
It’s also important to know if they look forward to it. When it’s time for walkies or play, they come right up to you and ask you to take them out. That’s something a happy dog would do.
A happy dog is hungry on time and has a healthy appetite. Canine anorexia is usually the first signs of canine depression. When dogs are stressed they just can’t think about food. On the other hand, eating too much can be a sign of illnesses like diabetes or Cushing’s disease.
So if your dog is eating well and eating on time, chances are they are happy and doing just fine.
Next to hunger is sleep. A relaxed and happy dog can sleep without worry. If your dog is not able to sleep, if they are crying, or trying to take as little space as possible when they are sleeping, they are anxious or scared.
A happy dog sleeps without worry and you can see it first hand. They tend to sleep on their side and take up as much space as they can. Some dogs sleep with their tummies exposed and their tongue out. If you are really lucky you will get to see your dog wagging their tail, lost in their dreams. It’s adorable!
Now, we are sure you have heard this, but even anxious dogs can wag their tail. It is not the tail wagging that is important but really how they wag their tail, that is important.
An anxious dog will wag its tail slowly. Their face will be tense and their tail may either be too low or too high.
A happy tail wag is quite the opposite. They don’t just wag the tip of their tail but they most their entire rear end. They sometimes do this little dance with their paws which is adorable! Some dogs, usually the smaller breeds, come up on their hind legs and it looks like they are doing a little dance.
Lastly, happy dogs are those that feel relaxed in their environment. They relax near you. When you come back home they are elated to see you and they usually come and greet you at the door. This is when you know you are doing things right and that you have raised a perfectly happy dog.
Is your dog happy? Let us know in the comments section below.