Animals communicate with us – and each other – using body language signals that are fairly subtle and we either may not notice them at all, or we might just not understand the relevance of certain non-verbal communication.
What a yawn actually means…
When dogs and cats yawn, for example, it can be a sign they’re finding something difficult, perhaps something occurring in the environment or a social interaction. The yawn is an attempt to make themselves feel a little more relaxed and at the same time communicate that they want whatever ‘it’ is to stop.
Of course, yawning can also occur for other reasons too – a dog who is just settling down for a sleep might also yawn so they feel more relaxed. And both cats and dogs will yawn when they anticipate something exciting might be about to happen, e.g. whilst a dog waits for their owner to get ready to go for a walk – again, this is likely to be related to them calming themselves down.
Why does my dog or cat drool?
Drooling can be a symptom of dental or mouth problems, so always take your pet to the vet if you notice that they are drooling a lot. Dogs may drool in anticipation of food (and some breeds just drool excessively regardless of whether food is anticipated or not!) and cats may drool as a sign of affection (alongside blinking and possibly kneading with their paws). However, excessive salivation can also be a sign of anxiety.
How do I know if my pet is anxious?
If your dog or cat is drooling as a result of anxiety, there are likely to be other body language signs that accompany the excessive salivation. Their ears may be pulled back or sideways, the pupils in their eyes are likely to be wide and/or the whites of their eyes may be visible too. They might also exhibit signs of facial and bodily tension, they may be cowering or hiding, and dogs may have their tail between their legs or panting.
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