How to Tell if your Dog is Stressed
Sometimes it can be difficult to know if your dog is feeling anxious, stressed or worried. You might think your pet can’t tell you if they are sick or stressed, but they can if you know what to look for. Dogs communicate their emotional state through body language and behavior. It’s just a matter of decoding the cues and knowing what to look for.
Noticing the signs of stress early is important. It will give you an opportunity to help your dog before things escalate and become dangerous.
Signs that your dog is stressed:
- Aggression toward People or Animals – Aggression towards people or animals can indicate a stressed or sick dog. Consult your vet before the problem gets worse. You may also see signs of fear, submissiveness, or unusual body posture.
- Sleeping More – If your dog is sleeping more than usual of seems overly quiet or lethargic, it can be a symptom that your dog is sick or injured or upset. There are also other severe health conditions that this can be a symptom of. Consult your vet.
- Alone Time – If your dog is regularly isolating himself from people or other pets he may be suffering from sickness or anxiety. Your vet can help you identify the cause.
- Drop in Appetite – If your pet stops eating or loses interest in their food it is important to consult a veterinarian. It could be due to stress or another health condition.
- Diarrhea, constipation or other digestive problems – Gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea or constipation can also be caused by anxiety. Speak to your vet if this is unusually severe or lasts longer than 24 hours or if the diarrhea is bloody.
Additional Signs of Stress to Look For
- Unnecessary shaking or shivering
- Abnormal shedding
- Tense muscles
- Excessive drooling
- Itching and scratching
- Licking lips and nose
Why is My Dog Stressed?
There are some causes that are obvious. Moving to a new living situation or home can be extremely stressful for your dog.
Here are some other reasons why your dog may be stressed:
- Noise – Our dogs are constantly dealing with sounds. Especially when living in a metropolitan area. Fireworks would be a prime example of a noise stressor that could give your dog extreme anxiety.
- Routine– Dogs are very routine oriented and when it’s disrupted they get nervous. Does your dog let you know when it’s time to be fed? That’s because they are used to the routine.
- Mental stimulation is lacking. Dog toys, exercise, walks, these are all important to reduce stress.
- Others– all dogs react to new guests, children, crowded situations or strange hands petting them differently. Please keep in mind that these things will impact your dog’s nerves significantly.
- Your mood and anxiety level – Pets are very sensitive to our moods and anxiety levels. When you are upset, then they feel upset.
How Can I Reduce My Dog’s Stress?
- Prevention– The number 1 way to reduce your pet’s stress is to reduce stressful environmental factors, like exposure to noise or crowds. Follow a routine that includes exercise and mental stimulation.
- Emulation– When your dog licks his lips or blinks, copy the behavior. This supports your dog’s efforts to calm down.
- Give your dog a Safe Place– It can be a dog crate or area that is “their spot” to feel safe and calm down.
- Dog Training– If your dog knows how to please their human, they are happy. Untrained dogs suffer anxiety trying to figure out how to please you.
- Caregivers– Spending a long time in a kennel can create stress, so can new people. Having a regular dog sitter or dog walker can greatly reduce their stress.
- Pet Stress Relief – Just like people, our pets experience immune issues caused by stress in their lives. When your pet is under stress, immune support is one of the first areas of their health to be affected. Our Pet Stress Relief can help tune up your pet’s health, immune function and provide ongoing support against illness and disease.