Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. It can come from an event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous and uncomfortable. You are probably aware of your physical and emotional reactions to stress. You may even be able to tell when your friends, family, co-workers and others are feeling stressed. But, what about your dog? Can you tell when your pet is stressed?
The three most common causes of stress in pets are:
- Memory loss or confusion associated with aging
- Fear – loud noises, new environments, large or strange objects, big groups of people
Your stress also impacts your dogs stress levels.
In order to understand your dog’s stress behaviors, you need to be familiar with their normal behavior patterns. Is your dog licking his lips because he is stressed, or because he wants a treat?
10 Indicators of Stress in Dogs:
Pacing or Shaking
Going to the vet can be a stressful experience for a Dog, just as visiting a doctor may be stressful for you. Your dog may pace a repeated lap around the exam room while waiting for the vet. He may exhibit a full body shake once he leaves the exam table and is back on solid ground.
Whining or Barking
Vocalization is a normal form of self-expression in dogs. In canines that are stressed the whining and barking may be intensified to get your attention or to self soothe.
Yawning, Drooling & Licking
Dogs will yawn when they are tired or bored. When your dog is stressed the yawn will be more prolonged intense than the sleepy yawn. Excessive drooling or licking can also occur when your dog is stressed.
Changes in Eyes & Ears
Dilated pupils and rapid blinking may be signs of stress in dogs, just as in people. Wide open eyes showing more white (sclera) than normal, giving your dog a startled expression is also an indicator of stress. Pinned back ears that are normally relaxed also indicate stress.
Changes in Body Posture
If your dog cowers or shifts his weight to his back legs, he may be exhibiting signs of stress. A dog that is scared will commonly tuck his tail or become quite rigid.
Shedding increases when a dog is anxious. Show dogs that become nervous in the ring may “blow their coat.” A visit to the vet or a new dog park are activities where shedding increases.
If your dog is hot, tired or stressed they may pant. So, if your dog is panting and they haven’t been exercising, they may be stressed.
Avoidance or displacement behaviors
In order to escape an uncomfortable situation your dog may focus on something else. They may sniff the ground, lick their genitals, or simply turn away. If your dog is ignoring people or the situation respect their choice, so they don’t become aggressive.
Changes in bodily functions
Refusal of food and loss of bowel function are stress indicators in dogs. If your dog urinates shortly after meeting a new friend, he may be marking his territory and relieving the urge from a nervous bladder at the same time.
Hiding or Escape Behavior
Some dogs may physically move behind their humans to hide. Is your dog nudging you to move along? This may be an indication the current environment is causing them stress. They may also dig, circle or move behind a stationary object such as a tree, parked car, or furniture.
Removing your pet from the stressful situation or environment is the first step in reducing their stress. If possible, find a quiet place for him to regroup. If your dog is consistently stressed, a visit to your vet to rule out any underlying conditions is in order.
If you are looking for a natural remedy to help your pet with daily stress, or a stressful event, PetAlive has the solution for you.
For pet anxiety, homeopathic PetCalm calms anxious, stressed and highly strung pets.
For excessive and disruptive behaviors, homeopathic Aggression Formula reduces dominant behavior and promotes good social behavior.
Scare-D-Pet soothes anxiety and nervous tension in pets who are afraid of loud noises such as thunder and fireworks.
Hemp Extract with CBD is THC-Free and promotes homeostasis and calm within the body.
As a pet parent, it is important to recognize the signs of stress in your dog and to remove them from the situation or help them cope in the best manner possible.