They say stress is one of the most spread out sufferings of the modern-day, but did you know that this also applies to your pets? Your dogs can suffer from stress disorders, anxiety, and other such symptoms and it can be very detrimental to their health. In this article, we’ll look into a few signs that are telling you your dog is stressed and what to do to relieve it.
We’re not yet sure why stress has become such a big part of our pets’ lives but it has become a common occurrence, so much so that it can affect their health. Dogs, in particular, can experience quite a few types of emotions, which means they are susceptible to becoming stressed very easily. Here’s how you can tell:
Most dogs are active for the bigger part of the day so seeing them run around is not an uncommon sight. However, if you ever see your dog being relentless or pacing back and forth for no apparent reason, it may be a sign of stress. Pacing can indicate a lot of different problems, like separation anxiety - if you notice your dog becomes restless when you’re getting ready to leave the house, for instance - or even dementia - more commonly seen in senior dogs.
If your dog is pacing due to separation anxiety, take steps in reassuring them that you will be back. This behavior will take a few times to become a habit but try not to pay too much attention to your pup before you leave or immediately after you come back home. This will let them know that it’s not the end of the world you’ve left and that you’re always coming back. On the other hand, if you’re noticing the pacing in an older dog, and you are concerned about it being abnormal, please refer to your vet for a thorough examination.
If your dog is panting and drooling excessively and you can clearly tell that it’s not because of the temperature in the room, it might be because of stress. Just like humans, dogs can actively sweat through their paw pads and noses when they become stressed, and this can also translate into panting and heavy drooling. If you know what the trigger was, try taking steps in removing it. For instance, if your dog is anxious being around your guests, maybe let him stay in a different room while your friends are over.
There are many books written on doggy body language and all of them mention tail tucking as a way for dogs to express anxiety, stress, or fear. Take a closer look at your actions or your dog’s surroundings the next time you see him tucking his tail, as that’s a reflex that could indicate there’s a stress factor nearby. Once you evaluate what that could be, ensure you take steps in removing it from your dog’s reachable area or changing your behavior to ease your pup’s anxiety. A few similar body language postures that can also mean stress are ears that are laid backward or raised hackles.
So far, we’ve talked about signs that are related to body language that could indicate stress, but that’s not all that you should pay attention to. In fact, any type of destructive behavior can be an indicator of stress. Dogs that chew on shoes or other items, pee inside or destroy items in your home when you are not there, can do this to get your attention. This is usually a sign your dog has separation anxiety and it’s a good idea to investigate further and try to solve this issue as quickly as possible. Through chewing inadequate objects, your dog could face serious medical issues like intestinal blockages, which might put his life in danger.
Speaking of medical problems, one that can indicate the presence of stress can also be an issue with your dog’s digestive system. Of course, in this scenario, it’s recommended that you first rule out any medical reasons that could be triggering this, and that could become life-threatening to your dog.
Stress-related digestive problems may include diarrhea, as well as constipation, or indigestion, and even vomiting.
As you can see, signs of stress in dogs are very diverse and can also indicate a multitude of other problems, so only take them into account as stress-related if you can clearly see this is not typical behavior for your dog. Always consult with your vet to see what the best course of action is for your dog, as each pup is different and has different needs, which your vet is best qualified to give.