10 signs you have a happy dog
As dog parents we spend countless hours figuring out if our furry friends are trying to communicate with us through body language and ‘talking’.
Do you know that dogs have their own language and there is a lot of communication that goes on between them, especially when they are in the wild? It is important for animals in a pack to understand each other.
Things changed after domestication. They don’t get to interact with each other as much and their communication skills are based on their environment and the behavior of their humans. So, not only is each one of us living with a different species, but they are so removed from their ‘textbook’ behavior that we cannot really say what is going. But there are some signs, common across dogs, which will tell you whether your dog is happy or not.
Here are 10 signs your dog is happy:
- The eyes and eyelids are relaxed, and there is a lot of blinking. The ears are relaxed, not pointing or alert. The mouth could be open with a few teeth visible (but not in a snarl). The tongue will be hanging sideways and your dog may even appear to be smiling.The body is relaxed and not tense. The tail is up in the air and wagging vigorously, wiggling the whole body. Or it could be a softer, slower wag.
- Happy dogs get plenty of mental and physical stimulation and there is no destructive behavior,even when left home alone.
- Your dogs is happy if she wants to play. If your canine fiend seems disinterested, then it's time to make a trip to the vet.
- A dog that is belly-up with its and tongue hanging out is a relaxed and happy dog. A happy belly-up is different from a submissive belly roll where the dog's mouth is closed and the whole body is stiff.
- A good appetite is a sign that your dog is doing well. Any change in appetite (increase or decrease) is cause for worry.
- A high-pitched yip that doesn’t last too long means your dog is happy. This is different from constant deeper barking that could indicate someone at the door or frustration for being tied up or kept outside.
- A play bow is an indication to play, and only happy dogs want play. If your dog raises her backside in the air and lowers her chest to the ground it is an invitation to play.
- A happy dog often leans into your hand when you pet him. Or will shift to stay in contact with your body whenever he gets a chance. That is a sign of a happy and relaxed dog.
- If your dog is thrilled to see you, even if it was after just one minute, that means she is a happy dog.
And what about signs of being unwell?
Now that you know signs of when your dog is happy, it is equally important to understand when your dog is feeling ill. The faster you recognise the symptoms, the quicker you can get help. The only issue is that signs of illness can often be subtle in dogs.
#1 Behavioral changes:
Nobody knows your dog’s behavioral traits better than you. Keep your eyes open for changes such as aloofness, sleeping alone or becoming very clingy. Is your dog refusing walks or playtime? Getting irritable with family members and pets?
#2 Digestive upset
Reactions like vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and loss of appetite should be taken very seriously. Check if there is blood in the stool, fresh and red or old and black. A painful, swollen or tight abdomen also spells trouble. Bloat is a serious condition and needs immediate addressing.
#3 Respiratory issues
Have you noticed any change in breathing patterns? Coughing? More than usual snoring? Nasal discharge with mucus or blood? All of these symptoms can indicate an infection or even something serious. Do not ignore wheezing, labored breathing or collapse, especially in dogs with short muzzles likes pugs, pekingese and bulldogs.
#4 Elimination problems
If your well-trained dog suddenly starts to urinate or defecate in the house it may be a cause for concern. Monitor older dogs on their bathroom breaks and watch for blood in their urine or difficulty in passing stool or any other obvious changes.Any deviation from the usual means a trip to the vet is called for.
#5 External appearance
Rashes, dull coat, unexplained hair, persistent itching, bumps or lumps should be checked out by your vet and monitored.
#6 Neurological signs
These are the most frightening symptoms and should be taken very seriously. Seizure, falling unconscious, disorientation, stumbling, weakness and trembling in the limbs, circling and twitching could have an underlying neurological illness.
Some ache or pain is fine, but when it is persistent and causes a change in behavior then you should it up and take notice.
Dogs are generally much warmer than us, so the best way to find out if your dog has fever is to take his temperature. A normal canine temperature is between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees. Temperature of 103 or more accompanied by any other sign of distress or illness means your dog is sick and needs to make a trip to the vet!
Keeping a close eye on your dog regularly, playing with him, grooming him, and bonding with him is the best way to notice any change in your dog’s health and well-being. Until then, enjoy the delight of interacting with a happy dog.