What Your Pet's Behavior Means
Our pets may not be able to speak to us in a conventional way, but they do in fact communicate with us! Understanding your pet's behavior is important for building a strong bond and ensuring your pet is living a happy and healthy lifestyle. Recognising their behavior can also help you ensure that their needs are met and how you can respond appropriately.
Understanding Pet Body Language:
Body language is the most telling and common way your pet will communicate, using subtle movements and postures. Cats and dogs will display different types of body language to communicate how they feel.
Dogs tend to be more expressive through their tails and ears. Pay attention to the way their tail wags or how low their ears are positioned:
- A relaxed body and wagging tail will indicate that your dog is feeling happy and the more rapidly they wag their tail, the more excited they’re feeling.
- A tense body with a slow, downward wagging tail could be a sign that your dog is feeling cautious or hesitant.
- Having their tails tucked between their legs is an indication that they are either afraid, or being submissive.
- When their ears are facing forwards or standing upwards, this can show that they’re feeling alert or curious.
- Ears bent behind their head may indicate that your dog is feeling sad.
- When your dog’s ears are flat against their heads, they’re feeling either aggressive or afraid.
Cats may be less expressive in most cases, but they can also indicate how they’re feeling with their ears and tails.
- When your cat's tail quivers upwards it can indicate that they’re feeling happy or comfortable, which makes it easier to approach them.
- An upwards flicking tail means that your cat is feeling agitated, and should be left alone.
- Like dogs, when your cat’s tail is tucked between their legs, they’re feeling anxious or afraid.
- Flattened or arched back ears may indicate that your cat is feeling threatened or scared.
- A calm or happy cat will have their ears facing forwards.
- When your cat has an arched back with their fur and tail standing up, this means that they’re feeling threatened or scared and they’re trying to make themselves appear “bigger”.
- A friendly cat will lay down relaxed with their bellies exposed, this means that they’re feeling trusting.
Understanding Pet Vocalizations:
Your pets will find a way to communicate with you vocally, either to get your attention or to show affection. They may not be able to speak like we do, but they do have a few things to say! Understanding your pet’s vocalizations will help you grasp a better understanding of their behavior and their needs.Dogs:
- Dogs will bark to either alert you of something, express excitement or out of frustration.
- If your dog starts whining at a high pitch, it means that they could want something, like food, to go to the toilet or simply attention based on context. Dogs can also whine if there’s something wrong, like if they’re anxious or in pain. If they’re whining excessively, you may need to see a vet.
- Another way your dogs may try to get your attention is through howling, which sometimes can be triggered by other dogs howling in the vicinity as well.
- Growling may be an indication of aggression or fear. Sometimes dogs may also growl when they’re playing, which may be more obvious based on their body language.
- Cats will meow to get your attention, like when they want food, to play, or just simply to “talk” to you.
- Purring can not only express when your cat is happy and content, but also when they’re in pain. If they’re purring and yowl when you touch a specific area, you’ll need to have them checked by a vet.
- Growling or hissing can be a sign that your cat is feeling scared or aggressive or scared, and should be given some space.
- “Chirping” is your cat’s way for asking for attention or showing excitement. Chirping can also be an indication of frustration if they can’t get to something they want, or when they want to chase something.
Pet Behaviors To Look Out For:
Chewing is common among young puppies, especially while they’re teething, which is why it’s important to invest in chew toys when they’re young, which will also help improve their dental health. Excess chewing in adult pets can be a sign of boredom or anxiety, or underlying behavioral issues. One way to prevent your pet from chewing your belongings is by using a chew stopping spray.
Pets scratch themselves to relieve itching, but if you notice that your pet is scratching to the point where they’re losing fur, it may be a sign that they’re dealing with parasites, a skin irritation, or allergies and will likely need treatment before they cause damage to their skin.
Pets groom themselves through licking, but what does it mean when they lick us, or lick themselves too much? When your pet licks you it could be seen as a sign of affection, or it could be them trying to tell you that they’re thirsty or hungry. If your pet is excessively licking themselves, that could mean that they’re anxious, stressed or bored. We’d recommend consulting with a pet behaviorist or your local veterinarian if you notice your pet is licking themselves too much.
Pawing is common in both cats and dogs. Typically it could be a means to get your attention, but sometimes if they’re pawing excessively, it could indicate that they’re feeling anxious or stressed. If they’re pawing at their food or water bowl, that means they’re hungry or thirsty.
Most pet parents will experience “zoomies” at some point in their pet’s lives. This is when your pet will have bursts of energy and run around crazily. Typically, this is your pet’s way of releasing excess energy or showing excitement. We’d recommend ensuring that your pet is receiving enough exercise throughout the day, either via walks or playtimes.
If you notice your pet is hiding away on frequent occasions then they may be experiencing stress or anxiety. This could be caused by loud noises like shouting too loud, thunderstorms or fireworks. In some cases it may be due to being in an unfamiliar place, for example, moving into a new house, or having them stay at a boarding facility. We’d recommend stocking up on natural calming remedies like Ceva or Pet Remedy to help reduce their stress levels during these situations.
When it comes to understanding what your pet’s behavior means, there’s no better person to consult than an expert. We recommend contacting Anna Neva as she is our choice in pet behavior expertise!
You can contact Anna through the following channels:
Phone: +971 56 352 8453
Whatsapp: +39 339 545 3256
Build a better bond with your fur-baby through understanding their body language, vocalizations and behavior!