How to Understand Body Language of Your Pet Dog or Cat

Understanding body language in cats and dogs Pet Healthcare PawPaw Pet Insurance

By looking at the body of your pet, you can tell a lot about it. Body signs show signs in case the pet is uncomfortable, relaxed, tired, or aggressive. By taking the time to learn the body languages, you will have the upper hand when it comes to understanding of your pet. The best body parts to check for signs are the eyes, ears, tail, and mouth. Though cats and dogs convey messages in non-verbal communications, we should know that they pass different signals through similar postures or signs.

understanding body language in cats and dogs pet healthcare pawpaw pet insurance

Watching your pet dog

  • Happy. When a dog is happy, they tend to wag their tails in circular motions. During this moment, the mouth is slightly opened, and they appear to be smiling. For the ears, they are maintained in a natural posture.
  • Alert.  During such moments, the dog maintains a rigid eye gaze while keeping all the balance on its fours. The ears are sharply pointed to the angle of alert. As for the tail, it remains immobile as the dog tries to maintain as much focus as possible.
  • Friendly. If you are wondering whether a particular dog is trying to befriend you, you will notice that the dog keeps on looking up to you while jumping up and down. Some dogs are so accommodating to the point of bringing some of their toys to the people they want to befriend. This is one of the signs that your dog loves you.
  • Afraid. A scared dog will always coil its tail between its hind legs as it retreats from the scene that frightens them. In addition to this, their ears flatten besides appearing to have reduced in size.
  • Submissive. This kind of a dog will try to remain as low as possible. The dog may walk beside you, appearing as small as possible. A more submissive dog avoids direct contact with a human being.
  • Aggressive. We have all encountered aggressive dogs that happen to bark at people or things in a way that make the situation frightening. Even in cases when the dog is on the leash, people will still walk cautiously as the posture and actions make the dog fierce. Such dogs are known to give a blank stare in a very intimidating pose. When you come across a dog giving a threatening growl, never stare at it. Make your way past it as soon as you can.

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Watching your pet cat

  • Happy. A happy cat will have its eyes closed, or half closed as it kneads its front paws. Most cats straighten their tails as a sign of contentment from their masters. Once you notice a cat with flat-laid fur stretching, know that the cat is happy.
  • Alert. An alert cat will always have its eyes widely opened as the ears remain sharply angled towards the source of the alert.
  • Friendly. Cats show their love through their eyes. Blinking eyes is a good sign of love.
  • Afraid. Cats get scared through a simple action by an outsider. You will know that your cat is worried if it tucks its tail behind the hind limbs and rushes away to a safer haven. The pupils become full as the ears move sideways as a sign of cowardice.
  • Submissive. Pets are known to be the most docile creatures. A docile cat will remain as small as possible with its ears flatten.
  • Aggressive/ angry. When a cat becomes angry, its tail thrashes as the claws become more visible. The fur stands on ends, showing signs of instant attacks from the narrowed pupils. Once you notice these signs, run very fast as a cat is known to act very fast when faced with any danger. Aggression leads to scratching which might leave ugly and painful marks behind.

Conclusion on your pets' body language

The above signs are common signs to notice in many pets. However, if you encounter problems while trying to understand them, you could decide to visit a professional to give you more insights on this behaviour. As a pet owner, never mistake a sign for something worse. An example is a dog that shows mixed signs when it needs to play, such as aggression and growling. Always know that signs may not mean that a dog is experiencing a certain feeling. It is always recommendable that you consider speaking to your vet before you make any conclusions.


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