While everyone is settling into their at-home routine in different ways, we all have one thing in common as pet owners: our dogs and cats have been seeing a lot more of us than usual!

Don’t worry; we’re not about to complain about having extra cuddles with our favorite furry friends. Spending quality time with them is always rewarding! However, as we continue to social distance, it is important to remember that this shift in daily life is also a change in routine for our pets.

Your pup or kitty may need to do some adjusting as well! Because of this, it is important to remember that animals communicate many emotions through their body language. As you continue to spend each day with your pet, here are a few tips to help you interpret what they’re thinking:

  • When a dog is ready for playtime, they will often be alert and will stand in a bowed position. There will most likely be some tail-wagging as well! If cats are feeling especially playful, they may have dilated pupils with ears facing forward. If they have a toy nearby, they will wiggle their butt, pounce, and toss the toy around for good measure.
  • If a dog is feeling particularly stressed out, their tail will be pointed downwards — sometimes positioned between their hind legs. Their body may also lower with ears pointed backward. When cats are irritated, they may show their teeth or hiss. Cats can also be prone to bite and scratch readily when they are unhappy.
  • Dogs will often have a stiffened stance when they are feeling dominantly aggressive. Their lips may curl, and their tail may be raised and unmoving. Cats may pull back their ears and have constricted pupils. They may stiffen into a stare-down with whatever or whoever is bothering them.
  • When dogs are happy and content, their bodies will appear to be more loose and relaxed. Their tails will not be stiff or hidden between their legs, their ears will be up, and their heads held high. Cats will have a mostly still tail when they are relaxed, and can often be found laying down or sitting comfortably. Their ears will be pointed forward, and if they are especially happy they’ll be purring or even kneading a nearby surface.

This list of pet emotions and body language is not exhaustive — cats and dogs are complex! Plus, every relationship between owner and pet is unique. Nevertheless, communication is key in establishing a trusting bond with your pet.

If you have any questions about how to understand what your pet needs, give our team a call at (952) 447-4118.

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