What Is My Pet Trying to Tell Me?
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What Is My Pet Trying to Tell Me?

What Is My Pet Trying to Tell Me?

Your pet may not speak a language you understand, but their non-verbal communication comes through loud and clear. Are you listening?

Animals convey emotions through sound and movement. Their subtle cues can let you know how to respond in healthy ways, helping you avoid conflict, aggression, or other unwanted behaviors.

Here are some of the typical non-verbal cues that you’ll see in pets today.

1. Panting
Dogs often pant quietly when they are content and calm. They also use this behavior as a nervous mechanism or cool down after a long play session. It is up to you to determine the environmental circumstances to see what you’re being told.

Cats typically pant when they are overheated. This behavior may be the result of an illness or pain.

2. Whining
This vocalization can be challenging to identify with a dog. Some animals use it as a way to ask for a treat. Others let loose a barrage of sound because they want attention. It could be a reaction to stress, an injury, or a desire to be fulfilled.

Cats tend to be vocal when they want something. Most lead you to the place of distress (usually the food dish) to let you know what is going on.

3. Howling
Dogs and cats howl when they hear something they like. Dogs tend to do it more when you sing or play an instrument, while kitties tend to yowl as a method of communicating displeasure. You’ll know for certain what is happening based on the environment you find around the animal.

4. Hackles
Dogs and cats raise their hackles when they are defensive or aggressive. The hair along their back, from head to tail, starts standing straight up. This message indicates that you need to stay away. Some people see this behavior like anger, but it tends to happen more often when an animal is nervous. Think of it as a stop sign for future petting.

5. Tail Movement
Dogs wag their tail when happy. Cats do it when they are angry. You can also encounter exceptions to that generic statement. How an animal is feeling can often be seen through its tail movements. When it is tall and alert, your pet is paying careful attention to something nearby. If it gets tucked between the legs, that is a sign of fearfulness.

6. Ear Position
When dogs have their ears down, it means they are submissive and ready for some pets. If you see a cat performing this behavior, a nearby hand might get scratched or bitten. You might see other body signals from your pet, such as bared teeth, that indicate it is time to stay away from the animal. Some dogs perk up their ears to an erect point because they’re listening to something in the environment.

Understanding what a pet tries to communicate can help keep both of you safe. Pay attention to all of the non-verbal cues to ensure you know what to expect from that situation.

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