Dogs are generally acknowledged to have the emotional capacity of a child aged between 2 and 3, which indicates their instincts to experience emotions such as happiness, fear, loneliness and anger. As a matter of fact, dogs share the same hormones and undergo the same types of chemical changes that humans do during emotional alterations. And pups are usually explicit when it comes to displaying signs of love and affection, but it does not necessarily mean they are feeling happy.
Just like a 2-year-old child, your dog might lack the vocabulary to tell you how they feel. However, also like a toddler, dogs’ body languages and behaviors do convey emotions. For example, we know what our dog looks like when it is “frustrated”. So as a hooman, it is more than important to interpret your doggo’s body language to gauge their state of mind and cheerfulness. This will help you identify when they are genuinely happy and when they might not be feeling quite themselves.
Here are 10 signs iSafeCare’s Doggypedia contributors have summarized to check if your dog is truly happy.
1. Floppy ears:
A dog in joy has its ears fall naturally and rest against the sides of its head. By contrast, if its ears are pinned back, this is usually a sign of pressure and tension.
2. Soft eyes:
When a dog is happy, its eyes will be a normal, soft shape. The gaze from its eyes will be relaxed and gentle and they will tend to blink often.
3. A high and waggy tail:
Oh yes! This is probably the most iconic signal of a genuinely happy pooch.
4. Friendly towards others:
If your pup is social at the dog park, friendly with other pets in your family, and not overly aggressive to new pups or humans, they are definitely in a good mood.
Happy dogs make a lot of body contact so they will lean on your body when they are in delight!
6. A relaxed body:
A happy pup’s body is relaxed. If your dog seems relaxed in its posture and not tense or stiff, this indicates its relaxation and happiness. Loose shoulders, and a dose of “wiggliness” or pure “flopped-outness” are all clues that your dog is feeling extraordinarily chill.
7. Plays bow:
A dog is telling you it is up for fun or want to play when it plays bow. In a play bow, a dog lowers its chest to the ground but keeps its rear in the air. In such cases, do not hesitate to enjoy some fun moments with your doggo!
8. Good behaviors:
A happy dog is usually well behaved. Destructive behavior is typically a sign of boredom and lack of mental stimulation. Separation anxiety is another common cause of extremely destructive behaviors in dogs.
9. Boosted appetite:
While some dogs are “pickier” eaters than others, a happy dog would love to eat, A LOT MORE. On the contrary, a sudden drop in appetite could signal your dog’s unhappiness or even illness.
10. Sleeps well:
When it is time to sleep, a happy and relaxed dog will sleep well. Stressed dogs wake up, get up, pick a new spot, fall asleep and then repeat. They are not relaxed enough to get into a deep sleep, which could cause health troubles.
How to delight your dog even much more
Given the above listed signals of a dog’s being happy, we could naturally conclude that the most efficient way to keep your dog happy is to meet its physical, intellectual, and emotional needs. Make sure it has a healthy diet, an appropriate amount of exercise, enough mental stimulation, and lots of love and caring from its beloved humans.
Another way to ensure your dog’s happiness is to look after your own! On top of experiencing their own emotions, dogs are very responsive to our moods. The healthier and more content you keep yourself, the more comfortable and content your dog will be, as well.
Finally, remember that “happiness” is just one of many emotions your dog is capable of feeling. It’s important to pay attention to your dog’s emotional cues, as changes in body language or behavior may indicate emotional stress, physical discomfort, or illness. But it’s also important to allow for variations in mood.
At the end of the day, everybody gets cranky once in a while, so does your puppy. As long as your dog is generally healthy, relaxed, and constantly cared for, you can rest assure that they are indeed happy, no matter by which means they show it.