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What can a dog’s eyes tell you? 

Dogs are beloved family members to millions of households across the country. For the most part, canines make great companions and they are rarely aggressive. Nonetheless, a significant minority can be aggressive and all dogs have the potential to bite under the right circumstances. 

Body language is key when assessing whether or not a dog might be uncomfortable. You can tell a lot from their eyes. Outlined below are a few things to consider. 

When a dog is relaxed 

As stated, for the most part, dogs spend their time in a relaxed state. Nonetheless, they do have guarding instincts and they would have hunted prey at one point. These instincts don’t go away, they can just be more muted in some dogs and more present in others. A relaxed dog will typically have soft eyes and their mouth will be open or relaxed. A scared, anxious or aggressive dog will not look like this. 

A dog that could bite 

In terms of the eyes, one of the most important things to look out for is something called “whale eye”. This refers to situations where the whites of a dog’s eyes are exaggerated. Dogs’ eyes will widen if they are scared, territorial or seeking out prey. There is a common misconception that dogs are most likely to bite out of aggression, but most dogs will only attack when they feel that they have been backed into a corner and have no other option. In other words, they are scared.

What should you do? 

Even if you are an animal lover, it is unwise to approach a dog that you do not know, particularly if they are displaying the signs discussed above. Dog owners have a duty to control their animals, and if you have been bitten, you may be able to hold the owner accountable. Seeking legal guidance can help to find out more about your options.