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Do dogs smile when happy?

Our Huntsville vets at Whitesburg Animal Hospital know the joy it brings when your dog looks at you with an expression of love and happiness. But wait! Was that a smile? Is your dog really smiling at you? Today our veterinary team discusses the heartwarming topic of why dogs smile.

Is your dog grinning at you?

It was once believed that what we perceived as a smile from our dogs, was really just a muscular reflex and not an expression of happiness, but lately, that theory has been challenged.

While your pooch isn't likely to chuckle or grin at a joke the way people do, many dog behaviorists now believe that what pet owners interpret as a smile could in fact be your dog's way of expressing a relaxed happiness, contentment, or even joy. Along with a relaxed open jaw and a mouth that curls up at the corners, when your dog smiles you will likely notice that their tail is wagging and their body language is happy. 

What makes dogs smile?

People smile for different reasons, this also appears to be the case with dogs. The reasons behind your dog's smiles will be unique to your pup.

As experts at reading human behavior, there's a good chance that our canine companions have discovered that when they smile it makes us happy and leads to behaviors they benefit from such as pats, treats and belly rubs.

On the other hand, perhaps something you do brings a smile to your dog's face as they relax and anticipate a pleasurable experience, such as when you reach for the leash at walk time, or pour food into their bowl.

Do dogs smile at other dogs?

Dogs communicate with each other using their entire body, so it's unlikely that you'll notice your pup smiling at other dogs at the park. But you will be able to spot happy, or even playful body language.

When your dog likes another dog you will likely notice signs such as a happy tail wag, taking turns chasing each other, or the 'play bow' with front legs stretched out and bottom raised which says 'hey I like you, let's play'.

Do dogs like it when people smile?

Your dog loves making you happy and is very good at reading your moods and emotions. So chances are good that your dog loves to see you smile, knowing that it's a sign of great things to come in the form of extra attention, cuddles, play or treats.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition or boarding needs, please make an appointment with your vet.

At Whitesburg Animal Hospital your dog's health and happiness are our top priorities. Contact us to book a wellness exam and preventive care for your beloved canine.

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Whitesburg Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Huntsville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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