IS YOUR PET TALKING TO YOU
AND WHAT ARE THEY SAYING
By Warren Eckstein
Vocalizations are a very important part of animal communication and their language. A barking dog may be protecting the house, alert to some intruder or visitor, or he may be fearful. Listen to the sounds your pet makes in different circumstances. His “normal” bark shows that he’s alert; a high-pitched, shrill bark usually indicates fear. Growling in a deep-pitched tone may be a demonstration of dominance or a power struggle with another dog or a human. A yelping dog is undoubtedly in pain or shock-maybe he’s been hurt or it could be he just wants to eliminate. A squeal may show happiness or a pleasant surprise.
A howl is a dog’s or cat’s way of saying he’s lonely. It’s also a rallying call, as if to tell other pets or people where he is or that something is wrong. Some animals howl when they hear something they don’t like, such as a siren or a thunderstorm or the Harley next door.
A sigh is generally a sound of pleasure. Your pet may sigh before circling and lying down, or when you scratch his head or stomach. He may also sigh after giving up, such as after a period of howling, just because he realizes no one’s coming, and the display of noise isn’t doing a bit of good.
Cats vocalize, too. They purr contentedly, they squeak or yowl in annoyance, they meow to let you know where they are or to indicate that they’ve just awakened from a comfortable nap. They often make an instinctive clicking sound in the back of their throat when they spot a bird or other prey. Listen to all of the sounds your pet makes. It will help you recognize his moods and physical condition and make you aware of any changes that might occur in his behavior and health patterns.
When you understand your pets vocalizations, you have an invaluable tool at your disposal. You will always know when things are out of kilter in any way.