We all wish our dogs could talk – it would make things so much easier. Even though they can’t speak, it doesn’t mean we can’t tell how they are feeling by the way they act. If you are wondering if your dog is loves the life you are giving her, check out these 12 signs that may help you determine if your dog is happy.
#1 – Relaxed Eyes
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), “When your dog is relaxed and happy, his eyes will be their normal shape.” Pay attention to the way your dog’s eyes look when doing different activities or during different times of the day. You’ll start noticing the differences and will be able to read your dog’s mood better. (www.aspca.org)
#2 – Relaxed Mouth
The ASPCA also says to look at their mouth. “When your dog is relaxed and happy, he’s likely to have his mouth closed or slightly opened.” Again, pay attention to the changes in your dog’s body language to read his mood. (Note: a dog that is panting with their mouth open could be hot or stressed. This is not a happy dog). (www.aspca.org)
#3 – Comfortable Ears
Also look at his ears. The ASCPA notes that a happy, relaxed dog will “hold his ears naturally.” Again, this will depend on your specific dog, with a lot depending on his breed and where their ears sit. (www.aspca.org)
#4 – Tail Carriage
Another part of your dog’s body language is in his tail. You can tell if your dog is happy by the tail carriage. According to the ASPCA, “when your dog is relaxed, he’ll hold his tail in its natural position. If he’s feeling happy, he may wag it gently from side to side.”.(www.aspca.org)
#5 – Relaxed Body
The last of the body languages, look at your dog’s overall body – are the muscles relaxed? Even a dog that is playing and bouncing around wildly will have a relaxed body carriage with weight evenly distributed if they are happy, says the ASPCA. (www.aspca.org)
#6 – Is Not Destructive
Destructive dogs are usually bored…are you happy when you are bored? Not usually. So a content dog is much less likely to chew on your shoes or eat your couch. Instead, he chews on his toys.
#7 – Eats Well
While some dogs are “pickier” eaters than others, a happy dog is going to want to eat. If your dog refuses to eat, something may be wrong medically, or your dog could be suffering from loneliness (did his favorite person just leave for college or did you lose your other dog recently?)
#8 – Is Active
Dogs are not cats. They shouldn’t sleep 20 hours out of the day. And while age and health plays a factor, a happy dog should be up and moving for most the day – exploring things, chewing on toys, etc. If your dog is unusually quiet, something may be wrong.
#9 – Solicits Attention
A happy dog will want to spend time with his family and will come to you for attention. Of course, there are differences in personalities that need to be taken into account, but for the most part, a happy dog wants to hang out with his people.
#10 – Is Healthy
Your dog’s health is a great sign of whether he is happy or not. Are you happy when you are sick? No, and neither is your dog. A healthy dog is a happy dog! If your dog has something ailing him, get it checked immediately so he can return to “happy” as soon as possible.
#11 – Gets Excited!
Does your dog run to greet you when you get home from work? A happy dog gets excited about things like dinner, you, playing, walks, etc.- whatever it is that your dog loves. If your dog never gets excited, there could be something wrong and a trip to the vet may be needed.
#12 – Sleeps Well
When it is time to sleep, does your dog pick a comfy spot and drift carefree into his dreams of chasing squirrels or eating bacon? A happy, relaxed dog will sleep well. Stressed dogs wake up, get up, pick a new spot, fall asleep and then repeat this in just a bit. They are not relaxed enough to get into a deep sleep, which could cause health troubles. Talk to a vet and/or a dog trainer about how to get your dog relaxed and happy so he can sleep well.