Stressed Dog: 7 Signs That Your Dog Is Stressed And How To Help
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7 Signs That Your Dog Is Stressed and How to Help


Is your dog acting strangely lately?

Are they behaving out of the ordinary unlike how they usually do? Dogs can also experience stress like people.

It is important to look after both your dog’s physical health and mental health. If you notice changes in your dog’s behaviour that are unrelated to other medical conditions, then you might have a stressed dog.

Here are ten common signs to help you recognize a stressed dog, and what to do to help your dog feel better and more relaxed. Before we get into it, let’s talk about the things that might cause stress in your dog.

Causes of Stress in Dogs

Your dog can be stressed for various reasons. A change of environment, a change of diet, a loss in the family – everything that stresses you can stress your dog out as well.

Just like people, dogs have their own safe space, comfort zone, or things that they do that help them relax. When these things disappear, it can lead to a stressed dog.

A stressed dog can experience many other health problems, which is why it is important to identify the phenomenon and reduce or completely eliminate it.

The first step is to notice the signs in your dog’s behavior and make that your starting point.

What Are the Critical Signs of a Stressed Dog?

Although every dog is different and they might manifest their stress in different ways or behaviour, there are a few common signs you should keep in mind to determine if you have a stressed dog.

1. Changes in their Sleeping Routine

A stressed dog may experience problems with sleep. If you notice your dog sleeping too much or too little, it might be because they’re experiencing stress.

If your dog is avoiding going to sleep or is sleeping too much, maybe something is bothering them.

2. Loss of Appetite

When dogs experience stress, they often manifest it by avoiding eating. If your dog isn’t that excited about his treats anymore, there could be a good reason for that. Not eating as much as they used to can imply that your dog isn’t very happy with something.

bulldog looking bored sprawled on a carpet on the floor
Signs of a Stressed Dog

3. Panting

This is something very common in dogs that are stressed or anxious. Excessive panting happens when your dog is under stress.

So, if you notice that they are panting a lot more than they usually would and it isn’t because they’re excited about something, stress might be causing this.

4. Not Being as Active as Usual

If you have a dog that likes to jump and play around, and all of a sudden this is not the case anymore, this is a sign of a stressed dog. The loss of motivation to play, move, and be active should alert you. If they prefer to be still, hide somewhere and avoid playing, it can be because they’re stressed.

5. Excessive Licking, Scratching, and Shaking Without Any Particular Reason

These types of erratic behaviour shouldn’t happen unless there is a good reason for them to happen.

6. Being Too Vocal

Whining, barking, and making weird noises may be a cry for help.

7. Digestive Problems

If your dog has tummy pains or needs to do its business often, it can be because of stress. Stress can affect the digestive system of people and dogs are no exception.

dog gazing forlornly
Stress Can Trigger Your Dog’s Tummy

How Does Stress Affect a Dog?

Stress may affect dogs in a number of ways.

Some common examples are:

  • Digestive issues: physiological effects may lead to flatulence, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Obsessive behaviour: similar to OCD, you may notice your dog spinning, chewing, licking, overgrooming, pacing and more
  • Aggressive behaviour: your dog may start snapping, growling, biting, or acting hostile
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom: stress can cause the need to urinate or defecate more often than usual

How to Help a Stressed Dog Naturally

Prevention is always better than cure. Strive to provide a comfortable environment and healthy activities throughout the day that will be beneficial for your dog’s mental health.

Living in a clean and peaceful space where they can rest and feel relaxed is a must.

Playing and bonding with your dog and assuring him that you are there for them is really important for your dog.

If you notice signs of stress in your dog’s behavior, the first thing you should do is identify the source of stress. Is it some recent event, something in the house that is making your dog stressed? Once you identify the source of stress, you should work on getting it out of the way.

These tips aim to calm a stressed dog:

  1. Stay with your dog and let it know that you are there
  2. Try not to leave them alone for too long
  3. Make sure that they’re in a space where they feel safe so they can relax
  4. Keep a close eye on your dog’s behaviour
  5. Take them out on walks
  6. Try to do things with him that make them happy
  7. Organize play dates with other dogs
  8. Surround them with nice things like you would do it for yourself if you were experiencing stress

What Happens if Your Dog’s Unusual Behaviour Doesn’t Stop

Contact your vet and schedule an appointment if there isn’t a source of stress that you can identify yourself with.

As stress can progress into more serious issues and deviant behavior in your pet, you should keep a close eye on it and see if it’s getting better.

What matters is that you provide your best friend with a good environment where it feels like it can recover and be more relaxed.

Your dog needs love, attention, and care for both its physical and mental health. Acknowledging this will not only cause prevention but early intervention as well.

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