How to Tell When a Dog is Telling You Something is Wrong

How to Tell When a Dog is Telling You Something is Wrong
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Is it possible to understand dogs based on their body language and signals? Your dog is certainly an integral part of your family, and probably quite loving. Sometimes, though, human displays of affection have nothing to do with the language that dogs use.

Dogs and humans have very different ways of showing affection. When you pet your dog, it’s not a good idea to pet where they do not like being touched, such as their head, legs, tail or snout. Dogs do like when you pet their back, under their snout and neck, around the sternum, and their sides. In any case, be attentive and willing to change the way you express love if you see that they’re not taking it well.

How to Understand Dogs

Woman holding a dog

To understand dogs, it’s best to put yourself in their shoes. If you pet a dog’s head a lot and you notice that he doesn’t like it, think about how you would feel if you were in the dog’s position.

Remember that each dog is unique and has his own personality. Therefore, there is no better way to understand dogs than to observe them carefully and analyze their reactions.

A Few Signs

There are certain reactions pets give that you might call signs of calmness or, on the other end, restlessness. Sometimes, they’re gestures of contentment and tranquility. Other times, they show you that they don’t like what you’re doing.

The visual aspect is also important. If you look a dog in the eyes, it might make them feel uneasy. Dogs relate sight with predatory instincts, and smell with curiosity. When you stare into your pet’s eyes, he usually expects something of you. As far as their sense of smell is concerned, they use it to identify your scent.

Detecting Illness in Dogs

The first sign that your canine friend may be sick is loss of appetite. Dogs always want to eat, especially if it’s something they like. If you see that your dog’s food bowl isn’t emptying, and that your dog doesn’t even want to eat his favorite treat, it may be time to take a trip to the vet.

If your dog vomits, it usually is not serious. Dogs tend to eat things they find on the ground, and it’s normal for these foreign objects to bother their stomach.

If you see that your dog has vomited several times, has mild diarrhea, and recovers within two days, you should not have anything to worry about. However, if the symptoms last for over two days, that’s a whole other ballgame.

Symptoms of Illness in Dogs

  • Fever is an unmistakable sign that a dog is sick. He likely has an infection. It’s usually safe to make this assumption if you get a high temperature reading and notice a listless mood, no desire to play and no appetite.
  • When you see your dog drinking a lot of water and it’s not hot out (and your dog is not physically active), this is another sign that something may be amiss. It could even be a chronic disease, like diabetes.
  • If a dog’s urine is very cloudy or there are traces of blood in it, this could be indicative of an infection or some sort of kidney problem.
  • Another detail that you can keep an eye out for is when your dog uses his legs to repeatedly paw at a certain area of ​​his body. This is another important sign that something is not right.
  • The sounds a dog makes can mean something here too: howling, moaning, whining, etc.

 A Repentant Dog

Australian Shepherd laying on the floor

If your pet does something wrong at home, it’s important for you to realize that unless you scold your dog right when he’s misbehaving, no amount of scolding will help. They are not able to associate your scolding with something they broke or did wrong earlier on.

When you yell at him, he’ll be ashamed and sad, but he won’t learn anything. That’s because the dog does not know what he did wrong or how to interpret your anger. Instead, he’ll just try to help you stop being angry.

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.