You may have wondered if your dog really loves you and enjoys being in your company.
Whilst our canine companions can’t tell us in words, there are some body language signals that give away their emotions.
According to new research, dogs wag their tail to one side if they feel comfortable and happy around people.
A study undertaken at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing recorded the way dogs met strangers over the course of three days.
As the dogs became more familiar with the person, they began wagging their tails more frequently to the right and less to the left.
The study, published in the journal iScience, found that right-sided wagging was associated with happy emotions and left-sided wagging was connected with sad.
Lead researcher Dr Yong Q Zhang said: “Positive and negative emotional states have been associated with left- and right-sided activation of the prefrontal cortex in humans.”
So, if a dog’s tail wags to the left, they may be feeling scared or nervous, but if it wags to the right, it’s likely they feel settled.
As a dog becomes more familiar and comfortable around a person, their tail will wag more to the right.
The research also found that dogs have a distinct pattern of wagging unique to each animal.
The study used a 3D motion tracking system to study how 10 beagles wagged their tails when they were with humans for one five-minute session per day over three days.
Dr Deborah Wells, from Queen’s University Belfast, commented on the findings: “‘The switch to right-sided wagging suggests the dogs are perceiving the stranger in a more positive light given the passage of time.”
Another new study examining dogs found that a raw meat diet can pose a lot of problems to human health.
Scientists at Bristol University have warned owners to be especially careful when preparing raw meat at home, as it contains drug-resistant bacteria.
Dogs that are given raw meat are more likely to excrete life-threatening strains of E. coli in their faeces, and spread superbugs that kill 700,000 Brits a year.
Prof Kristen Reyher said: “We know humans and animals share bacteria with one another – so what we find in your pet may well also be in you.
“Pet owners should be encouraged to practice good hygiene and not feeding raw food to your dog can be part of this.”