Do Dogs Smile? Understanding Pet Facial Expressions

Pet facial expressions are one of the ways pets communicate with us.

Facial expressions are such an integral part of communication between humans that oftentimes we impart meaning on the expressions that our pets carry. Anyone who is an animal lover will maintain that their four-legged friends have meaningful facial changes, though. So what is the final verdict? Do dogs really smile or is it all in our heads? The team at Carriage Hills Animal Hospital  loves to decode pet facial expressions, and sharing our findings with you is part of the fun!


Pet Facial Expressions in Nature

You can tell a great deal about what another person is thinking or feeling based on their facial expression. Pets also rely heavily on nonverbal communication, but unlike people, they naturally use more body language changes than facial changes to communicate with one another.

Animal communication utilizes posture, ear position, tail carriage, and facial expression in order to convey information. All of these components are integral to the process. For instance, a dog with a low, relaxed tail, slightly open mouth, and perked ears communicates a sense of ease. A tucked tail, low body, and pinned back ears indicates a fearful demeanor.

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