Understanding your Pet’s Language

Understanding your Pet’s Language


Because animals can’t talk, it is a guessing game figuring out what they want or need.  Veterinarians can’t just ask what hurts, what did you eat, how did you hurt yourself?  They have to rely on non-verbal communication, observation and tests.

These non-verbal communications include:

  • Posture:  they may change their walking, setting because of pain
  • Panting:  check pulse, heart rate
  • Shivering, shaking, trembling can be a pain response
  • Lethargy
  • Limping:  check the limbs
  • Licking:  pain response
  • Change in eating
  • Drooping head
  • Groaning, growling, howling, whimpering
  1. Dog’s Barking:
    1. Intruder Alert
    2. Someone is at the door
    3. Stranger here
    4. Unknown Animal Approaching
    5. In Pain
    6. To get your attention
    7. To Play
    8. Hunger
  2. Dogs Growling:
  1. Playing
  2. Warning
  3. Possessive
  4. Defense mechanism
  5. Fear response
  6. Dog’s Howling:
    1. To communicate with other dogs
    2. Singing
    3. Anxiety
  7. Cat’s Meow:
    1. Attention getter
    2. Talking
    3. saying hello
    4. Playing
    5. signal anger
    6. signal hunger
  8. Cat’s Hiss and Growl:
    1. warning signal
    2. anger signal
    3. pain
    4. show dominance
    5. upset
  9. Cat’s Purr:
    1.   soothing
    2. contentment
    3. happiness

**We hope these lists of non verbal communication as well as verbal communication to better understand and care for your pets.  Let us know how we can help you with these.

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