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9 Main Signs of Stress in Dogs

Posted on September 21 2022

main signs of stress in dogs

We frequently hear that someone was "out of nowhere" bitten by a dog. But dogs seldom ever bite without provocation, in reality.

Dogs largely express themselves through body language, thus it's critical for people to comprehend what they are attempting to convey. It can help to lessen a dog's nervousness and avert potentially harmful situations by being familiar with their unique communication methods. There are a number of warning indicators to watch out for to determine whether your dog is distressed.

In this article, we’re going to look at the main signs of stress in dogs and what you can do to help them stay calm and relaxed. 

a stressed out dog can result in stressing pet parents as well

Barking or Whining

When agitated, a lot of dogs can't stop whining since it's more of an instinctual reaction. For humans, it is a sign that something about the surroundings is worrying them. Similar to how puppies can't always control their howling when they bark, they are attempting to communicate their worry to you. However, depending on the situation, dogs might whine or bark for a variety of other causes.

Growling

Growling is a clear sign that your dog is uneasy. It could imply that they feel intimidated, that someone is invading their personal space, or that they are in pain. It's normally not meant to be hostile, but it's frequently a sign that your dog is uneasy.

Many owners try hard to prevent their dogs from growling. However, when a dog receives punishment for it, it may disregard warnings in future and attack without hesitation. Avoid correcting your dog's snarling. It’s necessary to respect your pups’ personal space, or find a new method to establish your expectations. For example, if a dog snarls at its meal, give it room so they may eat quietly.

Stiffness

Your dog may be anxious if they freeze or become rigid. This is sometimes seen as "submission" in a training situation, however, according to contemporary dog training methods, the dog is really shutting down. Both you and your dog may be at serious risk if you do this. The dog may bite you if they are too agitated to manage the situation, which is a warning sign.

an anxious dog can be triggered by separation anxiety and loud noises

Pacing Back and Forth

Pacing back and forth is a symptom that something is stressing out a dog and making it difficult for them to relax. It might not be a significant concern if this just occurs around mealtimes or for brief periods of time. However, observing when your dog exhibits this behavior might help you figure out what is making them anxious.

The pacing might be an indication of dementia in senior dogs. Consult with your veterinarian if you begin to notice it in your older pet.

Body Language

Turid Rugaas, a Norwegian dog trainer, discovered that dogs had over 30 techniques to avoid stressful circumstances. Puppies engage in these actions to attempt to mediate a conflict or to assure you or another dog that they're not a danger.

The following behaviors are among the main signs of stress in dogs: lip-licking, yawning, panting, raised hackles, curled ears, tucked tail, and whale eye (when canines show the whites of their eyes). Your dog may also glance away or avoid making eye contact. Most frequently, a dog that appears "guilty" will exhibit this. The dog, however, is actually responding to your tone of voice and nonverbal cues and believes something is wrong.

Sweating Paws

Although they don't perspire much, dogs do perspire from their feet. Furthermore, under stress, they perspire a lot more than usual. On a cold day, your dog may be of concern if you observe sweat puddles throughout the home.

To rule out disease, you might wish to test its temperature and call your doctor. Hot paws can also be an indication of an elevated body temperature.

stressful situations can affect most dogs and their stress levels

Throwing Up

Your dog may experience nausea and vomiting due to stress, similar to the unsettling sensation you can get in your stomach before a large event. While some dogs may throw up their biscuits if their surroundings are altered, this messy situation may happen during a variation in their regular routine like a vehicle journey or doctor's appointment.

In order to avoid dehydration and to rule out underlying medical conditions, you should get in touch with your veterinarian if your pet vomits more frequently than normal.

Irregular Sleep Patterns

The way a dog sleeps can change significantly when it is under stress. It could sleep less soundly or more frequently. Sleep is a crucial component of your dog's daily routine, so the disruption may be crippling.

Oversleeping can cause stiffness, obesity, and melancholy feelings, while undersleeping can make anxiety worse. If you observe that your dog is suddenly sleeping more or less than usual, you should call your veterinarian.

Lack of Appetite

When stressed or anxious, dogs may abruptly lose their appetite for food and even reject their favorite treats. Your dog's appetite may decline gradually with a sudden increase in pickiness or suddenly, with a complete lack of interest in food.

Contact your veterinarian as a pet refusing food might potentially be an indication of a medical problem.

experiencing stress can affect your furry friend to change its body language

Common Reasons For A Dog's Stress

You must first determine what is causing your dog's stress and anxiety before you can cure it. Your dog may get stressed for a variety of reasons, such as:

Loud Sounds

A rainstorm, fireworks, or construction may be quite stressful for your dog. Fortunately, there are some simple modifications you can make at home to encourage your dog to remain calm when exposed to loud noises.

Living Situation Changes

Moving may be difficult for your dog, as you would imagine, but so can little changes like buying new furniture or redecorating your house.

Changes in Family Structure

Your household's rhythm may be disrupted by a new child, pet, or spouse, which may make your dog question his place in the pack.

feeling stressed can affect dog owners as much as dogs

Punishment

Harsh corrections not only cause stress and anxiety in dogs, but they can also cause behavior to regress. Even though your dog might be annoying on occasion, it's crucial to keep a positive outlook. You can scold your dog firmly in words but never hit or yell at them.

New Things

Related to changes in living circumstances, a new object around the house might exacerbate anxiety or fear in a vulnerable puppy. Your dog might not like it as much as you do because of the way your new room looks and smells.

Separation

Many dogs experience stress when left alone. Also, it doesn't have to be for a long time. Some puppies feel uneasy or have the impulse to trail their human from one room to another.

Breed Behavior

Dogs should be free to be dogs. Breeds are created for certain purposes, and depriving them of their liberties might make them stressed. A dachshund, for example, has a natural tendency to dig and has to find a place to express it. For example, a sandbox is a terrific idea, to ensure your flowerbed doesn’t get dug up.

a veterinary behaviorist or a professional trainer can help your dog

Personal Space Invasion

Not all dogs are content to share their territory with people or other dogs. Your dog may start displaying symptoms of stress if he feels as though his territory is being invaded.

Routine Adjustments

Adding extra errands to your daily schedule or starting a new shift might be stressful for you and your dog. A change in food or walk times might be distressing for it because you are his entire universe.

Connection Conflicts

A tense relationship with a family member or other dog might cause anxiety. For instance, if your dog is scared of men, it could feel uneasy around the men in the house. If you and another family member are fighting, your dog might also take the strain.

Ways to Help Your Dog Relax

It's not as tough as you would believe to lessen your puppy's distress and triggers. You may attempt a variety of ways to provide your dog with a stress break, including:

Go to the Vet

An underlying medical problem may be the source of stress and worry. The best initial step is to consult your veterinarian to rule them out. Some stressed dogs might need medication for their anxiety so paying a visit to the vet should be the first step in helping your stressed-out dog.

Grooming

Brushing, like massage, can help your dog unwind since it simulates his preferred rubs and scratches. However, it's crucial to avoid coercing a dog who dislikes grooming because doing so would just exacerbate his nervousness.

Calming Fragrances

Dog-pleasing fragrances are chemicals that imitate the way canines communicate with one another through fragrance and are often sold in plug-in diffusers. Your pet may feel calmer as a result of the fragrances.

there are multiple ways you can help reduce the stress levels of your dog

Interacting Remotely

With the help of modern technology, such as voice-activated pet webcams, and on-demand treat dispensers, it is now feasible to check in on your dog from a distance. Your dog may feel more at ease in the house if they perceive that you are there even when you aren't. This can be a great help for dogs that have separation anxiety.

Mental Stimulation

Boredom can lead to a variety of issues, including destructive behavior, anxiety, and barking. By keeping it occupied, giving your dog anti-anxiety dog toys and brain-engaging interactive toys might help avoid these issues.

Exercise

Especially in energetic species like shepherds and border collies, pent-up energy has to be released. Stress can be reduced by giving your dog regular exercise. Increasing your dog's exercise routine makes it happier and is simpler than you would believe.

Final Thoughts

Stress can affect all living creatures including our fur babies, and Bitch New York is here to offer the support and tools to help you identify the main signs of stress in dogs, and manage them effectively. 

It is always best to pay attention to the signs your dog is showing, and respond accordingly. Check out our healing calming aids for stressed dogs and puppies.

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