Getting to Know Your Pet’s Emotions
Did you know that when a dog responds to both food and social rewards its brain looks a lot like human brain when in love? Dr. Mary Klinck, a veterinary behaviorist at the University of Montreal, found that the closer the evolutionary relationship of the animal species with humans, the greater the similarities in brain anatomy and processing. The challenge for guardians lies in recognizing your pet’s emotions. Here’s a guide to help you understand what your pet is really thinking.
“I’m so happy you’re back from work!”
Dogs: Dogs emotions are very obvious. When they’re happy, they smile, their ears perk up and their tails wag in a relaxed way. (Depending on the dog)
Cats: When cats are feeling affectionate and content, some will roll on their back and stretch out, exposed. Happy cats also tend to approach you with their tails flagpole straight. Also, if you stare into their eyes, the feline will blink long and slow.
Pocket pets: If guinea pigs are excited, they will make a high-pitched whistling noise. When hamsters and rats make a loud squeak, it can be a sign of pain or fear.
“I’m bored and maybe even a little sad.”
Dogs: House dogs almost never get sad. However, abused dogs with post-traumatic stress disorder will have glazed-over eyes, like a blank stare.
Cats: Cats that are restless could wander around the house making plaintive mewing sounds. The primary instinct of cats is to hunt so when they can’t express predatory drive, even in play, they become sad.
“Hey, mom or dad! Pay attention! I’m frightened and I need you!”
Dogs: Dogs have a great sense of intuition. They can see or sense when something is not right and when they do; their eye dilate, they stop and stare, and their bodies may become stiff. When they’re anxious, they’ll whine. When they’re fearful, they’ll hunker down. They may not analyze their feelings, but they definitely get upset at humans.
Cats: Cats have developed a meow that is just for humans. It’s a combination of a purr and a meow. They use it when they want to get attention. When cats are feeling aggressive, their pupils may dilate and their coats will puff. If a cat’s tail is thumping or thrashing, it’s either excited or upset about something.
Birds: When birds’ pupils expand and shrink quickly, it could be a sign of excitements. Lunging, hissing and ruffling their feathers means they’re feeling aggressive.
Rabbits: If you see their foot or leg thumping it means they’re nervous about something.