We all know that a healthy pet means fewer vet bills and the easiest way to promote well-being in your dog is through a nutritious diet, but is that the only component necessary? What about exercise, playtime, proper shelter, etc? All of these contribute to the well-being of your dog too. So, is he happy? How would you know if he/she is? And for those who don’t have a dog, yes, dogs have emotions too!

So we know nutritious foods are only one aspect, particularly 3P Naturals (shameless plug!) but there are many signals that your dog may be showing you that will help you determine whether or not he/she is happy.

Here are some body behaviours or signs that will indicate a happy dog:

  • relaxing, lying on his/her back

  • being ok when left alone at home

  • big swinging tail wags when you come home, or when you pick up a leash for a walk, or when you put on a special collar for work, meal time, etc.

  • a healthy appetite

  • friendly with people and animals

  • well behaved, happy to do as you ask and follow your lead

How does your dog measure up? If your dog displays all of the above behaviours, you get an A+! If any one of these behaviours isn't quite right, there may be a problem...

Well, what happens if your dog is not displaying any of these behaviours above? Other signs to look for are displays of “unhappiness.” Dogs will display a set of behaviours called “Calming Signals” when they are caught in threatening situations or stressful social encounters. Instead of fleeing the situation, they will use them to divert the stress.

Do your dog a favour and learn to read these. It will save you both from enduring unwanted social behaviours or situations.

Here is a list of “Calming Signals”:

  • Licking the lips

  • a low, wagging tail

  • crouching low

  • avoiding eye contact

  • yawning

  • showing their teeth (smiling) - different than aggression! Usually displayed alongside other submissive behaviours listed above

  • raised hackles

If your dog displays any of the above calming behaviours on a regular basis, you probably need to make a few changes in your routine. The first step, of course, is learning how to identify what your dog is communicating to you. The next step is is how to address some of these. 

Now that we have the basic clues for determining your dog’s happiness, is your dog happy?

At 3P Naturals, we believe in holistic pet care and that includes making sure your dog is confident and happy!

Check out our blog next week for “How to address stress-related behaviors.”

By Sarah Griffiths, DCH

January 31, 2017 — Pet Pantry

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