Is Your Dog A Happy Dog?

Dogs can’t tell you how they feel, but they can certainly show it. The way they act and their body language can tell you a lot about what they’re feeling, including whether they’re happy or not.

Making sure your dog is happy is a key part of looking after their health and wellbeing. Learn to you understand the signs of a happy dog, as well as ways to boost their happiness. Doing so can make sure you have a healthy, well-loved pet who’s a happy part of your family. Is your dog happy?

Signs of a happy dog


It’s quite easy to spot when a dog is happy. They’ll show you signs that they’re happy and content, which can be one of the most enjoyable parts of owning a dog. Behaviours of happy dogs include:

  • Tail-wagging – this is the most common and easiest sign of a happy dog.
  • Relaxed ears – some dogs might have floppy ears, or one ear that is floppy while the other is straight.
  • A relaxed posture
  • They’re being playful or indicating that they want to play
  • Rolling over onto their backs for a tickle
  • Leaning into you for some attention or being affectionate

Signs of an unhappy dog

Some signs of an unhappy dog are obvious, however, others might not be so clear and will involve close monitoring. Some behaviours shown by unhappy dogs include:

  • Their tail is low or close to their body, and they’re not wagging it as a happy dog would do.
  • Their body language is quite stiff, they’re shying away, hiding under tables or chairs, or even staying completely still – which could all be signs of stress or fear.
  • Their ears are pinned back or flat again their head.
  • They might try to run away or hide – this is particularly common when there are fireworks or loud noises nearby.

An unhappy dog could also be a sign that they’re in poor health. Some signs of ill health in dogs include:

  • Appearing lethargic, tired and sleeping more than usual.
  • A lack of appetite and not drinking enough water.
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain.
  • Unwilling to go for walks or go outside as they usually would.
  • Limping or showing signs of pain.
  • Excessive coughing, sneezing, unusual breathing.
  • Changes in toilet habits.

Keep an eye out for warning signs that you should take your dog to the vet and get them the help they need to get back on their feet again.

Keeping your dog happy

Dogs require a lot of care and attention, and bringing a dog into your family isn’t something that should be entered lightly. Here are some ideas of the ways you can keep your dog happy and healthy and make them feel welcome in your home.

Take them for walks

Exercise is very important for dogs. It helps them stay healthy, burns off some excess energy and gives them the chance to get out and explore. Walking is great fitness for you too, and can help you enjoy some bonding time together. The amount of exercise required varies depending on the type of dog, so make sure you find out how much exercise your dog needs to help meet their needs.

Give them toys

Dogs love to play, and giving them some toys can help to keep them stimulated, while also protecting your furniture, clothes, etc. from getting chewed. Toys can also help keep their teeth and gums healthy, helping to prevent all sorts of health problems. Deer antler dog chews are perfect for dogs and make a natural, affordable treat. Make sure you play with them too to help them stay occupied!

Feed them a healthy diet

A healthy diet is a must for a dog, and while you might be tempted to feed them table scraps now and then, you could be feeding them things that aren’t right for them, or could make them gain weight. Create the perfect diet for your dog to make sure that they get all the nutrients and energy they need.

Don’t leave them alone for long periods of time

Dogs love companionship, and many dogs can become unhappy and lonely if they’re left alone for long periods at a time. Try not to leave your dog on their own for long, and it can help to leave the radio on when you are out. If you’re at work during the day, you should consider getting a dog walker to help give them some company and exercise during the day.

Train them

Training is good for helping you enjoy spending time with your dog, but they can enjoy it too! Learning new things keeps your dog stimulated, and helps them make the most of their natural instincts. Start off by toilet training your puppy and work your way up to more advanced training where you can introduce tricks too.

Groom them regularly

Grooming your dog is important for their health, and a nice grooming session makes many dogs feel comforted and happy. Regular grooming helps to keep their coat in good condition while allowing you to check for any signs that they might be in poor health. A clean dog will also help to keep your home clean, so make grooming a part of your regular routine.

Love them

Ultimately, the best thing you can do to ensure your dog’s happiness is to love them and care for them. Dogs ask for very little, and giving them the love and attention they deserve will be returned many times over. Be kind to them and give them the love they need and you’ll have an incredible and special relationship.

Bringing a dog into your family can be a wonderful experience, but it’s important that you make sure you’re really ready first. Keep them happy and healthy so you can enjoy all of the wonderful things about man’s best friend.

Our boy Scrap. Photo: Keith Newhouse / photoplatform

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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