Is Stress Affecting My Dog?

stressDogs, just like their humans, can become stressed for a variety of reasons.  However, signs of anxiety or worry in dogs can often go overlooked, or even worse, undetected for a long period of time.  The first step in helping your dog battle stress is being able to recognize the symptoms.  

Be on the look-out for these common signs:

  • Yawing
  • Bulging eyes
  • Shaking off as if he was wet
  • Panting
  • Pinned back ears
  • Excessive or unusual drooling
  • Whimpering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Wrinkled forehead (similar to a human’s furrowed brow)
  • Tail tucked between his legs
  • Excessive lip licking
  • Hiding or cowering
  • Disobedient behavior such as not responding to direct commands
  • Accidents in the house
  • Excessive shedding
  • Illness

As you can see, many of these symptoms can be indicators of other issues so it can become confusing.  If you do notice any of these symptoms, try to determine what’s directly causing them.  While stress can be caused by many things, it is often the result of an interruption in a dog’s schedule.  Separation anxiety is a big deal for dogs – after all, they really are creatures of habit.  Think of your dog’s environment.  Is it noisy? Are there more people encroaching on his territory? Has a new pet been introduced into the home? You should also consider climate.  If it’s too hot or too cold, dogs can display signs of stress, too.

Whether or not you can directly pinpoint the source, it’s imperative that you try to help your dog reduce his level of stress.  You might be thinking “But, how?”

Here are a few tips to help reduce stress in your dog:

  • Try puppy massage. You can do this right at home.  The simple act of petting your dog can reduce his stress and hey, it will reduce your stress at the same time, too!  Win-win.
  • Give your dog some space.  Some dogs like to be left alone when they’re stressed.  Sound familiar?
  • If you know what is causing your dog’s stress, remove him from that environment or at least place some distance between him and the stressor whenever possible.
  • Provide your dog with treats!  You grab chocolate or other goodies to make you feel better and your dog is no different.  Showering your dog with his favorite things during times of stress will help him feel better, too.
  • Talk to your dog trainer or vet about the benefits of crating your dog in a comfortable, safe space while he is home alone. If this isn’t a good option for your pup’s personality, using a snug-fit coat like the thundershirt can also help with stress caused by separation anxiety or fear.
  • Stick to a schedule.  Dogs like to know what to expect from you and their environment. Try not to stray too much from his daily routine.
  • Take your dog to the vet.  If you’re not quite sure what’s causing your dog’s stress or you simply can’t make him feel better, a trip to the vet may be in order.  Your dog’s symptoms could very well be linked to an underlying illness.

Stress can wreak havoc on the body and well, just like humans, dogs can behave unpredictably when they are under stress and that can result in dangerous situation.  Do your best to address telling signs in your dog as soon as you notice something is not quite right. 

Tailored Pet Services is proud to offer dog-walking and pet-sitting service on a set schedule, so your pup’s stress can be reduced both by exercise and a regular routine to break up the time he may spend inside at home. Check out our monthly package rates here. 

 

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