Let’s face it: Stress is basically a part of life. From worrying about our finances to facing a major life change, many things can stress us out. While you probably know when you’re feeling stressed out, how can we tell when our furry friends are experiencing stress? As pet owners, it’s extremely important to know the critical signs of stress in a dog. By knowing these, you’ll be able to calm your stressed dog.
First Things First: What Causes Stress In Dogs?
Do you know what can cause a dog to become stressed out? When we think of what can stress a dog out, there really isn’t a shortage of situations. According to the American Kennel Club, separation anxiety in dogs, age, and fear are the most common reasons why a dog may experience stress. A dog may also become stressed due to any of the following:
Loud, Unexpected Noises: When your dog hears an unexpected noise such as thunder or fireworks, your best pal could be experiencing stress.
Meet And Greets: A dog could feel stressed while meeting new people and animals. Whether your dog is scared or territorial, getting acquainted with new people and animals isn’t easy for your best pal.
Separation Anxiety: Most canines with separation anxiety are stressed. These such dogs often freak out when their owners leave, and they may not stop barking, howling, urinating, or pacing until their owners come back.
Mirroring Owners’ Moods: Most canines are able to sense their owners’ moods. If you’ve been stressed lately, your furry friend is probably stressed too.
New Surroundings: A big stressor for many dogs is moving to a new environment. Most dogs won’t be completely relaxed until they get used to their new territory.
Inconsistent Rules: If your dogs do not know what’s expected of them, they’re likely to experience stress. For example, many dogs may not be able to understand why they’re only allowed to sleep on your bed on certain nights during the week.
Trips To The Vet: A regular trip to the vet can make almost any dog feel stressed. Even if a vet is the friendliest person in the world, a lot of the procedures are simply terrifying for many dogs.
Here Are The Critical Signs Of Stress In A Dog
When your normally hungry dog suddenly stops eating, you know there’s a problem. While there are a number of reasons why your best pal is refusing meals and dog treats, stress is often the biggest factor contributing to your dog’s lack of appetite.
Much research suggests that a dog’s digestive system is incredibly sensitive to moods. As a result, your dog could experience digestive problems due to increasing levels of stress. If you notice that your dog has diarrhea, constipation, or nausea, your dog may be stressed.
Too Much Alone Time
If you search for your dog on any given day, will you always find it in a safe, quiet place? Many stressed dogs will isolate themselves from people and other pets. You may even find your stressed dog hiding under furniture or a bed.
While some stressed dogs may prefer being alone, other stressed dogs may want to be around people. These such dogs immediately feel reassured when they receive physical contact with people. So, when there’s a thunderstorm or fireworks outside, you may notice your stressed dog rubbing against you for comfort.
Stressed dogs may walk around the house with a lowered body posture. When a dog walks in this manner, many dog owners immediately think they’re being sneaky. These dogs aren’t being sneaky at all. They’re just really stressed.
Did your dog’s aggression seem like it came out of nowhere? Many stressed-out dogs suddenly become hostile toward people and animals. They may snap at other canines at the dog park or growl at people walking down the street.
When dogs become destructive, they are often experiencing stress. They may chew on furniture, tear apart shoes, and dig holes in the yard. Many dog owners might mistakenly view this behavior as acting out.
While it’s completely natural for animals to groom themselves, stressed dogs are more likely to over-groom. For many stressed dogs, excessive grooming is a way for them to calm down. If your dog is severely stressed, it may excessively groom to the point of self-harm.
Whenever your dog can’t seem to just settle down, you should take its hyperactivity as a sign of stress. As long as your dog continues to be stressed, it will not stop pacing, shaking, or engaging in other frantic behavior. Learn how to calm down a hyper dog.
Does your dog often sleep the day away? Overly tired dogs are often stressed dogs. If your dog’s sleeping schedule has drastically changed, your furry friend may even be traumatized. Sleeping a lot is a way for your best pal to cope.
Despite being house-trained, many stressed dogs often have accidents throughout the day. Sound familiar?
Many dog owners may not know that a dog could be stressed if it just freezes in place. A dog may stop walking because it’s suddenly uncertain of something. Whenever your dog freezes in place, it’s an indicator that your friend doesn’t feel safe anymore.
Whining And Barking
Most dogs are going to bark and wine every now and then, but excessive barking and whining could indicate that a dog is feeling stressed and experiencing separation anxiety. In many cases, stressed dogs are wining and barking to get their owners’ attention, and this is actually common dog behavior. A barking dog may be trying to tell you that it’s stressed out about something .
If you notice that your dog is stressed, make it a priority to talk with a vet soon. When these symptoms aren’t treated promptly, your dog’s overall wellbeing can be negatively affected. A vet can offer some great advice regarding relaxing your stressed-out dog.
How Can You Help Your Stressed-Out Dog Relax?
Most dog owners would agree that handling a stressed dog can make even the most patient pet parents want to pull their hair out. The good news is that you can calm an extremely stressed dog, and you’ll be happy when your furry friend is finally relaxed. Check out the top ways to ease your furry friend’s stress.
- Remove your dog from the situation that’s causing the stress.
- Know your dog’s triggers
- Create a safe, quiet place for your best pal
- Distract your dog with a toy or treat
- Play calming music near the dog bed or dog crate
- Keep a regular routine for your dog
- Give your favorite pal a massage to alleviate its stress
- Offer your dog high-quality nutrition through the best dog food and lots of water
- Wrap your dog in a compression wrap or a weighted dog blanket
- Cuddle with your dog on the couch sometimes
- Engage in physical activity with your dog. Many dogs love to go for walks, play fetch, and even swim.
- Speak extremely soothing words to your dog
- Don’t think of your dog as “acting up” or being dramatic
- Give extremely clear demands
- Keep your dog’s mind stimulated by teaching it new tricks
- Hire a professional dog trainer, and ensure that your dog receives good, consistent training
- Try keeping a journal of your dog’s daily moods
- Manage your mental and physical health as well
- Encourage your best pal to be independent
- Talk with a vet about using natural remedies to treat your dog’s stress
- Take your furry friend to the vet if it’s constantly stressed
The Bottom Line
Just like humans, dogs can become stressed for a wide variety of reasons. A dog may be stressed after meeting new people, moving to a different environment, hearing a loud thunderstorm, or experiencing separation anxiety. The most common stress signs in dogs are constant barking, isolation, hyperactivity, aggression, poor appetite, digestive issues, and excessive grooming.
Start noticing when your dog’s behavior seems different, so you can relieve its stress as soon as possible. There are a lot of things that you can do to manage your dog’s stress, whether you choose to comfort your dog with soothing words, wrap your dog in a weighted blanket, or play with your dog outside more often. A vet will be able to help you too.
1. How do you calm a severely stressed dog?
When you’re trying to calm your severely stressed dog, the first thing that you should do is remove your dog from the stressor. After you get rid of your dog’s triggers, you’ll want to try a calming technique such as taking your dog for a walk and giving your dog a massage. You’ll absolutely love that these several calming techniques truly work like a charm. If you just can’t seem to calm your dog, it’s time to visit a vet as soon as possible. A good vet will suggest some alternative ways to calm your dog like prescription medications and home remedies.
2. What are the critical signs of stress?
The tell-tale signs that your dog is experiencing severe stress include poor appetite, over-grooming, digestive issues, aggressive behaviors, isolation, hyperactivity, and too much sleep. When you notice that your dog is experiencing any of these critical signs of stress, you should try to relax your dog with calming techniques. If your dog doesn’t seem to be improving, you’ll need to contact a vet immediately.
3. What does severe anxiety look like in dogs?
Many dogs who suffer from severe anxiety will exhibit any of these behaviors: Excessive barking, whining, panting, urinating, shaking, and pacing. If your dog has severe anxiety, you may notice that it’s refusing to eat as well. There are many things you can do to reduce your dog’s anxiety, from wrapping your dog in an anxiety blanket to creating a calm space for your dog to sleep. A dog’s anxiety could gradually get worse if it isn’t treated promptly. Make sure to get your dog checked out by a vet because it may require medical treatment like prescription medications.
4. How do you tell if a dog is traumatized?
When a dog is severely traumatized, it may exhibit really unusual behaviors. Many traumatized dogs are aggressive, destructive, fearful, lethargic, and chronically depressed. They may also constantly pant, whine, bark, and pace throughout the day. The best way to determine if a dog has been traumatized is to visit a vet. During the appointment, you can talk with the vet about effective treatments for traumatized dogs.