The answer is right below your nose! A happy owner makes a happy dog! Dogs are sensitive animals and they know when you are happy or sad.
You may say that you are really happy but your pet do not quite share the same sentiment, so what can we do about it.
The next best thing to do is to quickly check if Fido is sick. A sick pet require medical attention immediately. Do basic health checks on their physical body to ensure they are in good health.
Some basic health check list:
1) Gums – should be pink and healthy, if they look dull, there might be a problem with their health.
2) Teeth – One sure sign of ill health is raw infected gums with bad teeth and bad breath. Your pet may be in pain just like us human when we have toothache. Bring Fido to the vet immediately as bad set of dental can cause detrimental health concerns in their internal organs.
3) Tongue – Dogs who are healthy should have pink healthy tongue. If the tongue is unusually purple, bring to the vet immediately. However, if your pets are born with purple tongue, you may not be able to figure out their health immediately.
4) Tear Stain – Dogs who are constantly tearing could be sad, spend some quality time with them even if you are busy. A 5 minutes cuddle a day goes a long way in ensuring your pet is still loved no matter how busy you are with your activities. However, some form of tearing can be normal due to genetics make up.
5) Joints – Ensure they are not broken or in pain, observe if they are walking well and eating well. When a dog is sick, she usually do not eat heartily. Bring to the vet for a check up if this goes on for more then 2 days.
6) Ears – Ears should be clean with no foul odor. If there is strong odor, there could be mites or infection that requires attention.
7) Skin – skin problems can be traumatic for your pets. Their constant need to scratch could be a sign of boredom or skin problem.
If your pet is in absolute good health based on your physical checklist above and you feel she is not a happy dog, first thing to do is to bring her to the vet for a thorough check up. Many pets may be suffering from internal pain not manifested in physical way, e.g. cancer of internal organs, etc. It is best to seek advice from professional help to ensure clean bill of health.
After putting aside ill health as a reason for a sad dog, here are some tips to ensuring good bonding and happy relationship with your dog.
1) Daily walk or exercise – even a 5-10mins of exercise/walk a days makes a huge difference to your pet. They love their walks as it is their time and space to be with nature. It is the highlight to their simple life. So, do not deprive her of it. Even in cold winters seasons, you can make the walk a really quick one or at least replace the walk with some form of physical play with her at home e.g. play fetch, catch me if you can, etc.
2) Daily healthy wholesome foods – the pet food recall incident put all of us in frantic to search for the best pet food for our animal friends. My take on this is home cooked food. Take time to prepare homemade meals for Fido and start observing their change in vitality and health.
3) Grooming – a well groomed dog looks gorgeous, well loved and healthy. Comb your pet daily to ensure there is no unsightly hair matt and natural oil production to keep fido coat clean, neat and nice smelling! Even short coat dogs need regular combing, they will feel loved and cared for being handled and touched by you daily.
4) Lots of love – daily cuddles and talking to your pet is necessary. Some owners feel that dogs do not understand and talking to them may be weird or a waste of time. Actually, dogs do understand. I know many of you are with me on this. The next time if you feel an event might affect your pet or if you have a certain challenge with Fido, talk to her about it like you would to a friend or child, she may respond positively. I have experienced it myself many times.
Lastly, Fido may fall into depression in certain situations and we need to be sensitive about it and assist them to overcome the situation. For example, a death of a loved one/dog companion, change to new home or being abandoned. Do be patient and shower your pet with the love they missed from their friend. In due time, with your constant care and love, they will be a happy dog soon. Just give them time to mourn over their loss and bring them to fun places so they enjoy your company once again.