Common Misconceptions About Your Dog’s Body Language

As a dog parent, you may have had several ideas about your dog’s body language based on what you have seen on TV or read about in a manual. But we’re here to say that not all of it is true! Our pets give us critical clues to communicate with us, and communication doesn’t always have to be through barks. In fact, experts say that only 7% of communication is verbal, so you shouldn’t take non-verbal cues for granted, especially if you notice them in your dog. We will discuss below some of the most common misconceptions about your dog’s body language and how to use those cues to ensure your dog is getting enough exercise this National Walk Your Dog Month!

What Should You Know About Your Dog’s Body Language This New Year?

  • If you think your dog wagging their tail means they’re happy, think again! Yes, a wagging tail can show a happy dog, but that’s not always the case. Some dogs wag their tail from frustration or overstimulation. You can tell a happy dog from a frustrated one if its tail wags around in a circle, often called the “helicopter tail.”
  • Like a wagging tail, you may also be able to glean behavior cues through your dog’s stare. It is often thought that a fixed gaze equals anger, but this is not always true. Almond-shaped eyes and a squinting watch can be hallmarks of a calm dog, but if you notice dilated pupils, that could signify anger or aggression.  
  • Have you noticed your dog yawning recently? If you’ve seen your dog yawning more frequently, it is possible that, yes, they’re tired, but they may also feel overwhelmed. If your dog’s brow is furrowed while yawning, they may feel tension in their face and jaw.

How Can You Celebrate National Walk Your Dog Month While Being Conscious Of Your Dog’s Non-Verbal Cues?

  • In 2017, a clinical study released by The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention said that about 50 million dogs in the US are obese- approximately 56%! Obesity in dogs can lead to other health conditions like kidney disease, high blood pressure, and various forms of cancer. 
  • Research some of the walking trails and dog parks you and your dog haven’t been to before, and take them there! Your dog will enjoy the change of scenery, and if they are more social, they may enjoy meeting new dogs in the area. 
  • And most importantly, pay attention to any signs your dog shows of fatigue and exhaustion. It may be exciting to discover new areas to celebrate National Walk Your Dog month, but you shouldn’t overwhelm them with too many winding routes. The time you should spend walking your dog depends on their size and breed, but a good rule of thumb is to start with 15 minutes. 

Caudle Vet Clinic is the number one vet clinic serving Nashville’s pets! Our team treats your dogs and cats like our own because we know how integral pets are to a family unit. We have cutting-edge technology that allows us to determine the root of the problem and tackle it head-on through thorough veterinary care and precise diagnostics. Whether your dog needs a routine examination or a BAER hearing test, we offer various services and surgical procedures for your pet to be at their healthiest. Want to learn more? Contact us at (615) 227-6230. We provide compassionate care for all your furry friends!

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