Learning Your Pet’s Body Language

Whenever your furry family member comes to Blum there is a scale we use to determine their fear, anxiety and stress (FAS) levels. This helps the veterinary professionals working with your pet see the cues they’re exhibiting and realize when they have had enough.

While this is useful information for our staff to understand your pet’s body language, here is a way to understand how it will relate for owners and when it’s safe to approach other dogs!

When you are on a walk with your dog, if you approach another pup ALWAYS ask the other owner first if it is safe to say hello. If the dog’s tail is wagging, ears are forward, has a relaxed jaw with their tongue hanging out, or if they play bow, these are all signs it is safe to advance.

If the dog’s meet and either dog moves away with their head lowered, tail between their legs, looks away or licks their lips, this means one of them may not be sure about continuing. If this is a dog who your pup is going to be around a lot, start with slow introductions to make sure they start to become familiar with your pet. Do not try to force any interactions.

Many owners who know their dog is reactive will most likely hold them back or not allow them to stop and sniff. Some dogs may be perfectly fine with certain breeds but may be a little hesitant with others. If a dog is crouching, ears are flat back, growling and hackles are raised, it is best to continue on your way and not initiate a greeting.

For more information or questions about your pet’s behavior, please call us at: (773) 327-4446.

Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.