Many canine expressions can be seen as a smile: open-mouthed panting, tongue-out relaxation, or submissive smiles. These "dog smiles" usually occur in situations where they are relaxed and comfortable. When dogs smile, they are actually happy, which is why we often associate their expressions with human smiles.
Most scientists believe that the canine smile stems from a combination of evolution and that dogs have learned to analyze human behavior: they know exactly how to make us happy. Since most humans react positively when they see a dog smile, whether it's smiling back, making approving noises, or giving treats and pets, the dog is rewarded for this behavior, so he does it more often.
We often marvel at how human our dogs can seem. They seem to mirror our behavior and exhibit the same facial expressions and emotions we feel, whether happy or sad. A healthy and happy dog enjoys spending time with its humans, exercising, and resting, so it makes sense that many of us wonder if dogs can actually smile.
How do we know if our dogs are happy?
Many people think dogs wag their tails to show happiness, but this is not necessarily true. Dogs use their tails for various communications, and the message depends on tail position and other body language cues worth looking into in our pets.
A neutral tail and ear position mean the dog is relaxed. When dogs lower their tail to a lower position, it is a sign of submission and anxiety; when it snaps up, it is usually a dominant or alert movement.
It is important to analyze our dog's body language and actions to ensure he is happy: he is following his daily routine correctly, eating properly, and is willing to go for a walk or spend time with his humans.
For our dogs to be happy, we must guarantee them love, good nutrition, health, exercise, a comfortable space to rest, and a lifestyle that fits their size and personality.
Here at Land of The Strays, we work daily to give our rescued dogs a decent life. We provide them with a chance to be happy, to smile again. But this would not be possible without the support of our community, which, with their donations and good wishes, allows us to continue rescuing and rehabilitating animals that have spent most of their lives on the streets.
If you want to support us in this enormous mission and give smiles to more than 1800 dogs, donate what you can! Everything helps.