It’s a well known saying that “dogs are a man’s best friend”—and cats too, if you’re a cat person. While both can be great companions, it can sometimes be difficult to communicate with our beloved pets. We often can’t understand their attitude, their thoughts and feelings, and what they are trying to tell us. When it comes to communicating with animals, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.
Cats and dogs bark, whine, meow and growl, but mostly they “speak” via a body language designed to be understood animal-to-animal. For a dog, a wag of the tail means they are happy. For cats, on the other hand, a moving tail can be that a cat is annoyed or frustrated.
The environment in which your pet spends most of their time can also play a role in how they behave. Indoor pets who enjoy the air conditioning and lounging around the house may be less stressed—but, if your air conditioner happens to be broken in the middle of summer, that may cause your pet to become overheated or stressed. In that particular situation, you should call a local HVAC professional, like Boerne Air Conditioning Experts, immediately. For dogs, you may notice that they are panting. Because dogs sweat through the pads on their feet, most of their body heat is expelled through their mouth when they pant. This helps them regulate their body temperature. Dogs can also pant to cope with pain.
Going back to cats; when a cat is lying on its back it can have a variety of meanings. If your cat is sleeping with his or her belly exposed, he or she is probably feeling very secure and relaxed. But if your cat has his or her tummy showing while he or she is awake and simultaneously purring, it means they are content or stress-free.
Animal Attitudes and Anxiety
Many pets experience separation anxiety when separated from their owners for extended periods of time. This is regardless of whether it is just a few hours or a course of a few days. There might be a clear change in their attitude, where they seem to become depressed or distant. Animals live and travel in packs. It’s natural for them to feel anxious when they are separated from their pack-mates. This is particularly true for dogs. Try taking your dog on a nice, long walk before leaving them alone in the house. Leaving him or her in a sleepy, tired mode can calm their anxiety.
While many dogs communicate with body language, they also talk to us with their voice. Most dogs seem to enjoy a good bark—especially combined with howling. A bark can express many things. Maybe it signals happiness at the thought of a game of ball to celebrating your arrival home. Or, maybe it’s a warning of an intruder. When a gentle bark accompanies a nosing of the leash or a tentative paw on your lap, it may even be a question or suggestion.
Regardless of whether you are a cat or dog owner, it is important to take time to understand your animal’s attitude. Their attitude can tell you a lot about what they are trying to communicate to you, or how they are feeling in general.