Can Dogs Have Bad Days? | Pupford
November 21st, 2023
Filed under Pet Parenting
Dogs are known for their unconditional love, unwavering loyalty, and boundless enthusiasm. When we think of dogs we just can’t help but be happy right? But just like us, dogs have their “off” days.
In this blog post, we will discuss if dogs can have bad days and what may be causing these bad days so we can hopefully prevent as many as possible. Because if anyone deserves endless happiness, it’s dogs.
Here’s what we will cover:
- Understanding Dog’s Emotions
- Factors That May Lead To A Bad Day
- What To Do If Your Dog Is Having A Bad Day
UNDERSTANDING YOUR DOG’S EMOTIONS
To understand if dogs can have a bad day, we first need to acknowledge that similar to humans, dogs can feel a wide range of emotions. Unfortunately, dogs can not express their emotions as easily as we can.
Here are some common emotions that dogs feel:
Dogs are known for their happy-go-lucky attitudes. We see this during play, while receiving affection, or exploring their environment. They typically show their happiness with a wagging tail, a loose and wiggly body, and a soft face.
Sometimes happiness can quickly turn to excitement. This emotion may go alongside behaviors like jumping or barking and can lead to . We may see this when dogs are engaging in their favorite activities or when their favorite person comes home from work.
Dogs can experience fear when confronted with unfamiliar or threatening situations. Some common fear triggers include loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, or traumatic past experiences. Dogs may display fear in different ways. Check out our to learn more!
Dogs may become anxious in new surroundings or situations, in unfamiliar places, or in familiar places that have previously invoked fear. Some dogs may even become anxious when left alone, this is called . Anxiety in dogs can manifest as restlessness, excessive panting, destructive behavior, and even self-harm.
It can be harder to identify sadness in dogs since they do not convey their emotions in the same way we do. Typically we can tell our dogs are sad if they are acting out of character, if their activity level changes, if they are no longer interested in their favorite activities, or if they wait by the door looking for a loved one to come back for extended periods of time. Some things that may make our dogs sad include the loss of a loved one - human or animal, changes in routine, or experiencing physical discomfort.
If your dog is acting out of character for any extended period of time, we always recommend going to the veterinarian to rule out any medical concerns.
Frustration may arise when dogs can’t fulfill or communicate their needs effectively. This can lead to behavior like barking, whining, or pacing and can eventually turn into overarousal.
Contentment is a relaxed state where a dog feels relaxed, comfortable, and secure in their environment. Dogs may show contentment by lying down and stretching, sighing, or making soft eye contact.
Based on just these examples, it is clear that dogs are capable of experiencing both good and bad days. So what are some things that may influence these emotions?
FACTORS THAT MAY LEAD TO A BAD DAY
Now that we know can dogs can experience an array of emotions, it feels more plausible that dogs could also have bad days. While dogs do not have the ability to stress about past or future events, their moods can be affected by various factors in their day. Here are a few factors that may cause your dog to have a bad day:
- Physical Discomfort: Dogs who are experiencing illness, injury, or even just aging may suffer from pain and discomfort that can affect their overall mood and behavior.
- Environmental Factors: Changes in their environment, both big and small, can lead to stress and anxiety. Some examples include moving to a new house, loud construction noises, or extreme weather conditions.
- Routine Changes: Dogs thrive on routine and predictability and when their daily routine changes this can lead to stress or anxiety.
- Social Factors: Dogs are social animals and just like us, a bad social interaction may put them in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
- Mental Stimulation: Dogs need daily outlets for mental enrichment to fulfill their needs and keep their minds active. Lack of mental stimulation can lead to boredom and frustration and may lead to the onset of problem behaviors.
- Traumatic Experiences: Past traumatic experiences like altercations with other dogs, abuse or neglect, or situations that caused extreme fear can affect a dog’s emotional well-being.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG IS HAVING A BAD DAY
Now that we know dogs can have bad days and they aren’t always preventable, what should we do for our dogs when they are having a bad day?
1. EMPATHIZE WITH YOUR DOG
We all know what it is like to wake up on the wrong side of the bed or have everything just seem to go wrong all in one day. Have some empathy for your dog and understand that they may act out of character.
2. CREATE A CALM ENVIRONMENT
If environmental factors seem to be causing stress, try to create a quiet and comfortable place for your dog to decompress.
3. STICK TO A ROUTINE
If a change in routine has created stress for your dog, do your best to keep the rest of the day or the following day as close to their usual routine as possible. The predictability will help them feel secure and comfortable.
4. PROVIDE EXTRA ATTENTION AND COMFORT
Spend some extra quality time with your dog, and offer them extra love and belly rubs.
5. ENGAGE IN THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES
6. AVOID PUNISHMENT
It is crucial to avoid any form of punishment on your dog’s bad days. Scolding or punishing them can increase their stress and lead to future problem behaviors.
7. RULE OUT PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT
It is essential to ensure your dog is not in any pain or discomfort. Check for any injuries, sore spots, or other signs of illness.
8. SEEK OUT PROFESSIONAL HELP IF NEEDED
If your dog's bad days persist or you have found a sign of illness, reach out to your veterinarian to address any medical concerns. If there is nothing medically wrong with your dog it may be helpful to reach out to a professional certified dog trainer as well.
Dogs can indeed have bad days, just like humans. Their emotions are influenced by various factors, including their physical well-being, environment, and daily routine. While bad days cannot always be prevented, it is our job to understand and empathize with our dogs and help them through the not-so-good days.