My dog is my whole world. Though he joined our family only two years ago, I can’t imagine what life was like without that little nut! However, because these little creatures don’t speak our language (though, could you imagine if they did?!) it can be hard to determine when your dog is unhappy, angry, scared, or even depressed. Use this guide to determine if your dog is truly happy. And if not, I have some tips below to help with that, too!
Happy Dogs Are Not Destructive
When it really comes down to it, happy dogs are not destructive. If your dog gets into mischief (whether it be chewing up an old newspaper or heaven forbid, one of your favorite pairs of shoes) it could be a sign that they aren’t happy. Instead, destructive dogs are often a sign that your dog is bored, anxious, lonely, or even depressed. But there are things you can do about it!
Physical and Behavioral Signs of A Happy Dog
An easy way to tell if your dog is really truly happy is to see if they exhibit any of the following physical and behavioral signs:
-A soft, partially open mouth.
-Ears that are pulled back, not taut with alertness.
-Relaxed confident posture with a raised tail and head.
-A tail wag that could be described as “full body wiggles.”
– Inviting you to play by raising their butt in the air and lowering their chest to the ground.
-Rolling over to show their belly.
-Dogs that are happy are always excited to go for a walk or go on a ride in the car.
-They’re excited to see you when you walk in the door.
-They lean into your hand or your body when you reach down to pet them. Happy dogs love physical contact.
Happy dogs ALWAYS look comfortable and at ease.
Physical and Behavioral Signs of An Unhappy or Depressed Dog
If your dog is exhibiting any of the behavioral and physical signs below, they might be unhappy.
-If your once outgoing dog has suddenly started snarling at every passerby while on a walk, it could mean depression.
-A dog that hides (under the couch, in the closet, etc.) for the better part of the day.
-Dogs that develop a sudden lack of appetite.
– A dog that howls while you are away.
-A dog that no longer wants to play with toys or likes physical attention.
How To Make Your Dog Happier
If by reading this, you’ve determined that your dog could be happier, there are a few easy things you can do to raise their spirits. For example, frequent walks and mental stimulation can really go a long way in regards to making your dog feel happier. Take your dog to the park weekly, go on nightly walks (and don’t pull them away the moment they start sniffing!), or even just engage in a backyard game of tug or fetch. Your dog will appreciate it, and you’ll get some much-needed exercise too!
Additionally, diet can play a factor in the happiness levels of your dog, just like it can in humans. Talk to your vet to determine if the current food is the best fit for your dog. And if not, talk to your vet about healthier replacements. If you feel good, you are good!