Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
SHARE
Health Learn About Dogs

Do Dogs Smile?

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel
Sep 3 ·
best unisex dog names

No matter what your dog does, you’re going to think it’s cute. The way your pooch wiggles its tail or the way they prance toward you when you get home from a long day at work. It’s all adorable, and it puts an instant smile on your face. But then you notice a bit of a smile on your dog’s face in return. Is it what you think it is? Do dogs smile? The answer seems to be yes.

do dogs smile

How do dogs smile?

There has been a lot of back and forth about whether dogs can smile or not. Sometimes, it looks like your pooch is smiling when they have their mouth gaped open, and they’re panting. However, this means your doggo is in a relaxed state, and your facial muscles aren’t at work. But there are times when you can catch your furry friend with an actual smile on their face.

Humans smile by curling the corners of our mouths upwards, with or without showing teeth. This is done through the limbic system, which is the emotional part of our brain. While we are more developed than canines regarding emotional intelligence, dogs can still feel emotions. In fact, they are in tune with our emotions and learn from our body language. So, yes, dogs do smile, and it looks similar to how we smile.

Dogs can also smile with or without their teeth. Most of the time, when a dog bares its teeth, we assume it’s a form of aggressive. However, there are times when dogs show their teeth in a friendly manner. They might not be able to contain their excitement. After all, they see you smile with your teeth, so why shouldn’t they smile with theirs?

Why do dogs smile?

There are a few different reasons why dogs smile. They can do it for attention, show their happiness, or show that they’re approachable.

As mentioned earlier, we all think dogs are adorable no matter what they do. You know, as long as they’re not destroying the furniture or unrolling the toilet paper. But whenever we see our doggo friend, we always crack a smile. They’re always excited to see us. They’re cute and act hilariously when they’re happy to see us. So, because we smile at them, they might smile at us to gain attention. Who doesn’t coo over their pup when they do something cute?

do dogs smile

Alternatively, the pup simply is looking for a treat. Whenever we see our up do something cute and we’re feeling generous, we reward our pup. This is positive reinforcement for smiling. If you give your dog a treat for smiling, then chances are they’ll keep smiling, believing they’ll get a reward for it. 

In addition, they could also be smiling to show happiness. Whether you leave the house to go to work and come back a few hours or later, or you just went to the end of the driveway to grab the mail, your pooch is surely excited to see you walk through the front door again. When you enter, they may crack a smile to show that they’re happy to see you again.

Smiling is also a way that dogs show their facial muscles are relaxed. This means they’re comfortable in the place they’re in and with the people around them. So, they could smile to show they’re comfortable and approachable. For example, if you take your pooch for a walk and smile at a stranger, they could say they want to meet that person. They’re showing that they’re friendly and would love a couple of pats on the head.

Finally, dogs might smile to show submissiveness. Smiling is an act of friendliness, and it also shows that the dog is relaxed and comfortable. So when you notice your pooch smiling, it could be because they are showing submissiveness to you. 

Can dogs laugh?

If dogs can smile, then surely they can laugh, right? Unfortunately, no. The answer is that dogs cannot laugh. However, when playing, dogs can make a sound that’s similar to laughing. It’s a breathing pant that mimics the sound. Your pooch will most likely make this sound when they’re trying to invite you to play.

do dogs smile

What should you do if your dog smiles at you?

If you’re coming home from a long day at work and your pooch smiles at you while wagging their tail, then, sure enough, they’re excited to see you. Whether your dog wants attention or is happy to be in your company, be sure to smile back and give your pup lots of pats and cuddles. It’ll only bring the two of you closer together and make you both happy.

Similar reading: learn more about why dogs do certain things

Rachel Poli Author
WRITTEN BY
Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
Recent posts
Lagotto Romagnolo Names
Are you looking for the best Lagotto Romagnolo names? Picking a name for your dog can be one of the hardest things to do but we have a little help here to get you started. These breed specific names should be a great help in terms of finding something that matches perfectly. You can read more about the Lagotto Romagnolo breed in detail here if you are still thinking about...
Australian Shepherd Pitbull Mix Names
Are you looking for the best Australian Shepherd Pitbull Mix names? Picking a name for your dog can be one of the hardest things to do but we have a little help here to get you started. These breed specific names should be a great help in terms of finding something that matches perfectly. You can read more about the Australian Shepherd Pitbull Mix breed in detail here if you...
Road Trips With A Dog – 10 Tips To Make The Journey Easier
Most of the time, “car” is a magic word that most dogs get excited about. However, their excitement might wane when they get into the car, depending on where you’re headed. Also, it depends on how long you’re in the car. So, let’s talk about road trips with a dog. Here are ten tips to make the journey easier.  Before You Leave Before you head out with your dog, you...
Find by breed
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Next