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12 Signs That Your Dog Is Genuinely Happy

Are you concerned about how social-distancing is affecting your dog? Here are 12 signs that your pup is happy to put your mind at ease today.

There’s no denying that we are feeling super grateful for our dogs right now. Without even trying, they are doing so much to make us happy during this very uncertain time.

how to know when your pup is happy

But It’s hard not to worry about the effects that the current circumstances are having on our pets. Social distancing is a big adjustment for us, but in many cases, it’s also meant a significant change of routine for our beloved pups.

Initially, it was easy to think that our pups would simply be ecstatic that we were at home with them constantly, but as the weeks of social-distancing pass by, we are beginning to wonder if our dogs are starting to struggle a little.

Not only are they probably not getting outdoors anywhere near as much, or as freely, as they were pre-quarantine, but it’s well-known that dogs can take on their owners’ stress. And there’s no denying that even the most chilled-out of us are starting to feel the strain of this global pandemic.

So, we did some research into the various signs that your dog is happy so that you know what to look out for to put your mind at rest.

1. Floppy Ears

Obviously, depending on the breed of dog, their ear shape will differ. But if their ears are relaxed, falling naturally against the side of their head and not pulled back, that’s a good sign that your pup is happy.

2. They're Playful

If your pup still gets excited when it's play time, take it as a good indication that they are happy!

Exercise and playing are both natural instincts for dogs and happy dogs are always up for some play time, or a walk.

If you notice your dog is uninterested in playing when he usually loves it, it may be a sign that he is stressed or unwell.

Advice online suggests booking an appointment with your veterinarian if this is the case. Check out our recent article on a Vancouver-based virtual vet platform.

3. A Rapidly Wagging Tail

Of course, we've all heard this one. A wagging tail means a happy dog. But the thing to look out for that shows your pup is truly happy is a tail wag that moves the entire body.

If their tail wags their whole little body, it's a very good sign that you've got a happy dog!

4. Belly Up and Tongue Out

We scoured the internet for signs your dog is happy, and this came up in every single article.

If you pup rolls over and shows you their belly, they are most likely a very happy dog.

If they are wiggling around on their backs with their tongues out, this shows they are relaxed and happy, so if you see this, let it put your mind at ease.

5. Soft Eyes

According to Dr. Karen Becker's Healthy Pets blog, your dog's eyes can tell you a lot about whether or not they are happy.

"His eyes and eyelids are relaxed, he blinks a lot, his gaze is soft and his brow is smooth. His ears are also relaxed, not cocked or pointing. His mouth is open a bit with a few teeth visible (but not bared), his tongue may be lolling and he may even appear to be smiling," writes Karen.

6. Relaxed Body

Have a look at your pup's body. Do their muscles look tense?

When a dog is happy their whole body will look soft and relaxed. You know that cute wiggle they do? That's a sign that they are feeling good!

According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), even a dog that is playing and bouncing around wildly will have a relaxed body carriage with weight evenly distributed if they are happy.

7. No Destructive Behaviour

Happy dogs are usually well behaved, so if your pup is acting up and chewing everything in sight, they may be feeling bored or unhappy.

Dr. Rachel Barrack of New York City’s Animal Acupuncture tells PetMD, “Happy dogs are unlikely to destroy your home or act naughty because they have enough physical and mental stimulation.”

8. A Healthy Appetite

A good appetite is a great sign that your pup is both happy and physically well.

While your dog may not have a huge appetite normally, if you notice a dramatic decrease in how much they want to eat, this could definitely be a sign that they are unwell or unhappy.

9. Lots of Sleep

Is your pup sleeping well? Do they find their own comfy spot and peacefully drift off for hours?

A happy, relaxed dog will sleep easily and often. Stressed dogs, on the other hand, will wake up, get up, pick a new spot, fall asleep and then repeat multiple times.

They aren't relaxed enough to get into a deep sleep, which could be a sign of stress.

10. They Play Bow

If they play bow, this is an invitation to play, and do you feel like playing if you're not happy? Exactly - it's a good sign!

In a play bow, a pup will raise their bottom in the air and lower their chest to the ground as an indication that they are up for fun with their favourite human (or doggy) friend.

11. They Lean Into You

How does your pup react to you petting them?

"A happy dog will often lean into your hand when you pet him, and lean into or keep contact with your body whenever the opportunity presents itself.", writes Dr Becker in her Healthy Pets Blog.

Staying just out of reach or walking away could be a sign that your pup needs more space, so pay attention to what your pup's body language is telling you.

12. They Still Get Excited To See You

Lastly, if your pup still gets excited to see you, even if you've just popped into another room, then good news. This is a sure-fire way to tell that your furry friend is happy.

And, let's be honest, it's one of the many things they do to make us happy every day. It's impossible not to smile when they are still thrilled to see you wake up, even though they've spent every day with you for weeks now.

Hopefully these 12 signs on how to tell if your dog is happy will put your mind at ease today. It's not an easy time, but you're doing a great job and rest assured that your dog feels like the luckiest pup in the world to have you!


Need some ideas to keep your pup entertained at home? Check out our tips on How To Keep Your Dog Happy While Self-Isolating.


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