Believe it or not, stress also affects dogs! Stress and anxiety are not something unique to humans; dogs, too, can suffer from them. A busy life, changes in their environment, lack of exercise are common reasons that can lead to stress. Continue reading to find out about sign of stress in dogs and how can you relieve it.
What is stress, and what are the signs of stress in dogs?
Stress is an automatic reaction of the body to a stimulus or emotion, whether positive or negative. It allows us to stay alert, adapt and face these new situations. But what is stress like in dogs, and how can we identify it?
These are the most common signs of stress in dogs that you should be aware of
One of the first signs of stress in dogs is barking, especially in small dogs or terrier breeds. Do you find your dog barking at whoever passes under your house, or maybe losing control every time the doorbell rings? These are typical examples of this signal.
2. Persistent unexplained diarrhea
If your vet cannot find an explanation for your dog’s frequent diarrhea, then this might also be one of the signs of stress in dogs. You can also detect this if you find your dog suddenly not tolerating certain foods as the intestines are delicate, and a load of stress can affect their functioning.
3. Bad Smell
Some hormones released during stress can be smelly, so if you find a persistent bad smell even after you bath your dog, then it also might be a sign of stress. It has nothing to do with hygiene, and it doesn’t matter how many times you bathe him or cut his hair.
4. Difficulty concentrating
If you find your dog having difficulties concentrating when you give him commands or solve a simple interactive game, he may be showing you his stress.
5. Destroying things
Although destroying is not common behavior for dogs, tearing cushions, blankets, or breaking the chairs’ legs are all signs of stress in dogs. Such actions are involuntary and can only be resolved when solving the source of the stress.
6. Skin allergies
Many skin allergies are signs of stress in dogs. Uncontrollable itching, atopic dermatitis, bumps, and redness, especially in the armpits, are caused by stress.
Other signs of stress in dogs:
- Hyperactivity or nervousness
- Elevated heart rate
- Dry mouth, excessive thirst
- Excessive salivation
- Compulsive self-licking
- Unusual and compulsive behaviors, such as running in circles, tail chasing, etc.
- Loss of hair
- Loss of appetite
- Muscular stiffness
As you can see, these signs of stress in dogs are very similar to what we feel when we are nervous or anxious. Some symptoms seem contradictory (nervousness-lethargy, dry mouth-salivation), but keep in mind that not all dogs react in the same way or show all the signs.
Stress in certain situations is not always bad; it helps the dog to stay alert. However, staying stressed for a prolonged period can definitely cause behavior problems, aggressiveness, fear, anxiety, and depression.
Treatment is not possible without finding the cause(s) behind the signs of stress in dogs.
Is your dog showing sign of stress? Here’s how you can help him
Start by asking yourself if there is anything new at home that he doesn’t like. Some dogs do not get along with the vacuum cleaner and may freak out and bark at you because they see it as a threat. If this is the case, try to put him in a different room while you finish cleaning.
Changing your routine can be another cause of stress. You may have moved or have to leave your dog alone now that you are going to work. If possible, make these changes gradually so you can help him adjust.
If you are leaving the house more frequently, consider asking a friend to visit your dog for a moment. Or, if you recently changed your home, giving him access to a quiet area can be helpful.
Diet can play a role in your dog’s stress level
Maintaining a nutritious and well-balanced diet is important to your dog’s health and mental wellbeing. Foods like sweet potatoes, oilfish, turkey, whole brown rice, and blueberries are known to help calm signs of stress in dogs. However, diet changes aren’t a cure-all to stress and anxiousness in dogs.
Luckily, different calming agents are available today, which provide significant comfort and help reduce signs of stress in dogs.
Here are some products that owners with stressed dogs tried and thanked for!
These are vest-like garments designed to calm anxious dogs. The idea behind them relies on the theory that applying pressure to the dog’s torso induces oxytocin or endorphin release, resulting in a calming effect, just like swaddling a crying baby.
It’s essential to put the vest before stressful events and remove it afterward as continuous wear may diminish the effectiveness.
And just like all the above products, not all of them in the market are created equally. Our square calming bed promotes good and comfy sleep, which can solve a lot of physical and mental health problems.
It’s a square-shaped super-soft bed designed to help stressed dogs; calm down and provide a greater sense of security.
Other things that can help reduce signs of stress in dogs:
- Increasing exercise: Provide at least two 30-minute walks per day on average.
- More playtime: In addition to walks, find other fun ways to play and interact with your pet.
- TV sounds and soft, classical music can help calm down stressed dogs.
If you’ve tried the above tips without seeing any results, or if the stress is severe, please make sure to contact your vet as soon as possible.