Do Dogs Actually Smile – How to Keep Your Dog Happy

Do dogs actually smile? No one is a stranger to the upturned mouths we see on your dogs every now and then when they seem ridiculously happy- whether it is when you walk in through the door after a long day’s work or when you take them for a run to the park or just spend any amount of time with them. But the real question is whether you are just imagining your dog smiling because you are projecting your own feelings on it, or is it really smiling at you?

The truth is that when a dog is happy, it will use its body to ensure that its owner knows how it feels. However, smiling like a human isn’t one of the ways it does this. This means that your dog is not really smiling at you when you take it running or on playdates. It may open its mouth wide and start panting, but that is not a smile. A dog’s way of smiling is its bouncy body, wagging tail, and soft eyes that are filled with love. Moreover, you may also find that a happy dog keeps its ears and mouth relaxed like it has no worry in the world.

Do Dogs Actually Smile?

For several years, canine experts had unanimously agreed that dogs did not smile when they experienced joy. However, what human beings see as a dog smile is really just a muscular reflex that these canines have no control over. However, there are mixed views on whether a dog exhibits this behavior when it is happy or trying to show emotions.

Let’s assume that you are watching a movie. Something funny happens, and as a human, there are high chances that you may laugh or smile. However, you cannot expect this from your dog. Your dog has no idea what just happened, so it will not be smiling. However, if you see that the corners of your dog’s mouth are upturned, you could assume that it is content and relaxed, and hence, happy.

Moreover, some dogs will also look like they are smiling when they are being submissive to their owners. This expression that we call smiling is really just the dog being in a relaxed muscular state.

Do Dogs Laugh?

You will find many animal behaviorists debating about whether dogs laugh. However, countless research has shown that dogs do not know how to laugh the way human beings do. Now, you must keep in mind that dogs can make a sound that sounds similar to laughter. They usually use this sound when they are playing or having fun. It is a heavy breathy pant that is exhaled forcefully. This is a play-pant, not a dog- laugh as human beings think.

When a dog play-pants, it may be showing you that it is happy. This is especially true when it exhibits happy behaviors like letting you rub its tummy or jumping on you playfully.

It has also been found that a play-pant sound is different from a typical dog pant. The frequencies of both sounds differ from each other. Hence, you could assume that this is a kind of sound that dogs make when they are happy, just like a dog laugh.

How Can You Tell If Your Dog is Happy?

If you find that the corners of your dog’s mouth are slightly lifted, you may not be completely wrong to presume that it is happy. While it may not be smiling, it could definitely be showing emotions of contentment. Studies prove that when a dog is relaxed, the corners of its mouth will be turned up. However, keep in mind that if you see the dog’s teeth while it is “smiling,” do not presume that it is happy. Showing teeth is often a sign that the dog is angry or aggressive. It is best to pay close attention to your dog’s body language before you do something wrong to trigger it.

If a dog is showing love to its owner, it will often wear a submissive grin. This is when it shows its front teeth, but in a different way from an aggressive dog. A happy dog will lower its head, wag its tail, flatten its ears, soften its body and have soft, love-filled eyes along with the upturned corners of its mouth. These signs will help you understand if your dog is really feeling happy or if it is showing signs of irritation.

How to Keep Your Dog Happy

The happier your dog is, the healthier it will be. A happy dog will be more active, energetic and will be less likely to fall sick.

Here are some ways to keep your dog happy:

1. Take Your Dog for a Run

We all know how much dogs love their routine runs. Instead of handing your dog to a pet-walker, take it running with you on days that you come home from work early. Your dog will thoroughly enjoy this bonding time with you.

2. Challenge Your Dog with Dog Sports

Dogs are extremely competitive by nature. They love being challenged, whether it is by a fetch game or any sports that are made specifically for dogs. Find dog sports and challenges in your area and see how happy they make your dog.

3. Groom Your Dog

Grooming a dog is important to ensure good hygiene and health. Not only does grooming keep diseases at bay, but it also ensures that your dog remains healthy and comfortable. A lack of grooming can cause your dog’s nails to become long or fleas to attack your dog’s fur, causing it pain and discomfort. If you want to keep your dog happy, make sure you keep it clean.

by Maria A Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™

Facts About Animal Homelessness:

  1. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
  2. The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.
  3. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Act as a publicist for your local shelter so pets can find homes. Sign up for Shelter Pet PR.
  4. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  5. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.
  6. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.
  7. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
  8. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  9. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.
  10. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  11. According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

Here are a some adoptions for consideration: