Is Your Dog Happy? Here’s How to Find Out

By: Paulina Aguilar

Is your dog happy? This is one of the questions that those who have dogs at home often ask themselves. Since our pet companions cannot speak, we’ll tell you what indicators show that they are.

Having a dog may seem like a simple task: you just have to feed them and take them to the vet regularly. The reality is different, however, as dogs require much more. It starts with the constant need to spend quality time with their owners.

According to an article in Psychology Today, “spending time together” is not limited to simply petting the dog; it generally encompasses all forms of social, emotional, and physical closeness. Additionally, the report highlights that this time together is one of the most important emotional reinforcements we can offer our dogs.

According to the same article, when a dog is left alone at home for several hours, cortisol levels in the blood increase due to the stress caused by loneliness. This chemical response can lead them to adopt destructive behaviors such as digging the carpet, chewing the couch, or destroying bed pillows.

Now that we understand the importance of spending quality time with our dogs, it is crucial to learn how to interpret the signals they send us through their body language and behavior to determine if our pet is happy.

Signs that Your Dog Is Happy

Eye contact: A happy dog enjoys looking at its owner and will seek to maintain eye contact as much as possible. According to BetterPet.com, the intensity of the gaze is key; a soft or squinty stare usually indicates that the dog is happy or relaxed.

Tail movement: If your dog wags its tail at a steady pace and for a prolonged period, it is an indicator of its excellent mood. Also, lifting the tail slightly can be a sign of happiness. However, a very high tail may indicate overstimulation or agitation, as noted in a report by Petmd.com.

Attitude: A happy dog will not be apathetic and will always be willing to play with you or go for a walk, rejecting the opportunity to stay lying down. During walks, it will behave normally, sniffing plants and flowers, and socializing with other dogs and people, as described by Marc Bekoff, an expert in animal behavior, to Reader’s Digest.

Appetite: A good appetite in your dog is a sign of well-being both physically and emotionally. A hungry dog reflects the energy it spends during the day and its level of activity. However, it is important to pay attention to unusual changes in appetite, as sudden increases or decreases may indicate health problems. Spot Pet Insurance, recommends consulting a veterinarian in these cases.

Affectionate expressions: A dog that lies on its back to be petted shows trust in its owners and is happy to receive affection. Linda Ryan, an expert in animal behavior, explains on PawSafe.com that this action is a form of communication that may be related to seeking attention, the level of trust the dog has in its owners, or its level of relaxation.

Now you will be able to better determine if your dog is happy and, if it is not, you may want to redesign your shared activities with your furry friend.


About the author: Paulina Aguilar


Graduate in Communication Sciences, pizza taster, cat whisperer, Muggle expert and specialist in series and movies.

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