When we’re upset about something that happened to us, our eyes may get watery, our faces turn red and we might start sniffling. We humans have been using this method of displaying emotion for thousands of years. It’s called crying, but it turns out that dogs also cry and often do so quite loudly.
Dogs have tear ducts just like people, which means they experience emotions like sadness, anger and joy just as we do. Some experts believe that dogs’ tear ducts evolved from those found in other mammals.
While dogs aren’t known to show strong signs of happiness on occasion (or at least not publicly), they definitely respond emotionally to what goes on around them. Most dogs will display some type of reaction to situations involving separation anxiety, fear, trauma and pain.
Just because a pup whines, cries or looks away doesn’t mean he or she isn’t feeling anything serious. In fact, many owners who see these behaviors assume there must be something wrong with their pet. However, most puppies learn quickly that whining can lead to nothing more than being ignored, and that makes young dogs very unhappy. This is why it’s important for new dog owners to understand their pets better before making any assumptions about their mood.
The next time you walk down the street with your pooch, pay attention to his or her body language. If you don’t recognize certain behavior patterns, keep an eye open for changes. You should notice ears that flop back, tail drooping, yawning and lip licking. These behaviors indicate that your puppy is bored or needs stimulation.
If your pup displays one or all of these symptoms, look no further. Your puppy is probably lonely and wants your company! On the other hand, if your dog has a healthy appetite and seems content lounging in the sun, check out the following pages for clues about other possible causes of sadness.
Many times, a whimpering sound is heard coming from inside a home, especially when someone enters a room unexpectedly. A whimper can be soft or loud and is usually accompanied by lowered head and eyes. The owner may think at first that the dog is hungry or hurt, but a closer examination reveals that the animal actually wishes to communicate with its master.
A dog’s mouth opens into two rounded folds called pups. When a dog barks, air passes through both sides of its mouth at once. Because of this, some experts say barking is louder than whimpering. Sometimes, though, a whimper sounds like a high-pitched version of barking. Both types of vocalizations come from the same place the throat.
Whimpering is typically caused by stress, loneliness or discomfort. Often, a whimper comes from deep within the chest area. Dogs also use whimpering to calm themselves after stressful events. For example, if you’ve just returned home from work and your family begins to arrive, your dog could begin to whine. This indicates that he’s anxious or excited about seeing visitors.
Sometimes, dogs make whimpering sounds during play. Puppies whine while playing tug-of-war with their toys. Older dogs use this technique to try to get another person’s attention. While whimpering may seem simple, it’s actually a complex communication tool used by dogs worldwide.
Be aware that although most dogs enjoy having their tummy rubbed, others find this practice uncomfortable or painful. If you suspect that your dog finds belly massages distressing, ask yourself whether you really need to give him one.
Barks are a lot like human speech. Like words, barks have meaning. Barking alerts other animals to danger, aggression or hunger. Unlike words, however, barks tend to be short, sharp bursts of noise.
Like human babies, dogs growl, bark and cry when they feel threatened. There are also instances where a dog will bark in order to attract attention. Many consider barking “happy” or “friendly,” while others claim that the action is simply meant to alert other animals of the presence of strangers.
Some experts say that barking can help dogs determine the health of their littermates. If a mother cat is carrying kittens, she’ll bark at the ground to let everyone know she’s ready to go. Other animals, including dogs, use barks to mark territory.
As you learn about different kinds of barks later in this article, note that some breeds exhibit unique barking patterns. Take the Labrador retriever for instance. Labradors bark differently depending upon breed standards. So, if you own a lab, listen carefully to hear exactly what your canine says.
Now that you know the basics about barking, read on to discover how to tell the difference between happy and sad barks.
Although dogs bark and whimper, cats meow. Cats use their purr to express pleasure, love and contentment. The sound is produced by vibrations in the larynx. Since cats don’t breathe through their mouths, the vibration travels directly to the eardrums.
Other Signs of Sadness in Dogs
One way to figure out if your dog is experiencing sadness is to take a close look at his or her eyes. Tears can provide an easy way to release pent up emotions. Tears are made up mostly of salt water, and this mixture helps cleanse the eyes.
Like humans, dogs blink when they cry. Also, unlike humans, dogs don’t usually wipe away their tears with a tissue or sleeve. Instead, they flick their tongues across their eyeballs.
Another clue that your dog is sad is if he or she appears lethargic. Lethargy occurs when your pooch hasn’t eaten enough food or had enough exercise. Fatigue can result from illness, injury or emotional distress.
If a pup suddenly stops eating or drinking, then it may be expressing grief over losing a loved one. If you observe your pet staring off into space for long periods of time, he or she may be depressed.
In addition to looking dulled, pale skin can also indicate depression in your dog. The reason is that depressed dogs aren’t able to produce enough melanin, which gives color to fur and hides facial expressions. To compensate for this lack of pigment, depressed dogs develop dark circles under their eyes.
Finally, dogs may become aggressive when they’re stressed. If you notice your dog acting hostile toward members of your household, then seek professional medical assistance immediately.
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You may wonder why dogs always point their heads upward when they cry. Experts believe that pointing downward prevents a dog from urinating on himself or herself.