The last month our world has been turned upside down! Our daily routines are completely shaken up and the uncertainty is stressing us. But have you ever thought about how your dog copes with this crisis?
Every dog needs structure, this gives him confidence and confidence in you as a handler. So if our structure completely disappears due to circumstances, their daily routines will also be shaken up. In stress-sensitive dogs, this can mean that they experience more stress.
Can dogs also suffer from stress?
With the word “stress,” we mean an adaptive reaction of the organism to a physical or psychic change. In fact, our 4-legged friends are also subjected to stress every time an environmental change occurs, such as a new member joins the family, a car trip, or any change in the condition the pet was already accustomed to.
Is stress in dogs an indication of unhappiness?
Stress is always a part of life, and “good stress” is actually beneficial as it teaches the dog to deal with situations that conflict with his psycho-physical balance. But the problem arises in case of “distress” (“bad” stress) when the dog is unable to resolve the situation in any way and realizes that there is no need to fight and does not know how to deal with the problem. In this case, feeling helpless is definitely an indication of unhappiness, and it can have serious health impacts.
What can be the most common causes of stress in dogs?
There are plenty of situations that can cause stress for dogs. The most common ones occur when they have poor socialization. This happens when you leave them alone for a long time, or you don’t spend enough time playing and communicating with them. Dogs are social beings in nature, and they require company, so they don’t feel lonely or scared.
Another common stress trigger changes in residence; this could be due to moving to another house or even moving the kennel outdoors. A strange change in place will make dogs feel uneasy.
Speaking about changes, the death of a family member or if a new member shows up can also be stressful for the dog as they recognize your family as their “pack.”
Other situations that can cause stress in dogs include bad experiences (a bite received by another animal), traveling in a car, and loud sounds (e.g., fireworks), and music.
Common symptomps of stress in dogs
It is common for stressed dogs to show hyperactive behaviors and an inability to rest and stay calm; in the long run, they may begin to nibble on furniture or other objects to release the accumulated tension.
#2 Appearance of stereotypes
These are repetitive and constant movements a stressed dog can make for no apparent reason. For example: biting their tail, chasing non-existent animals, or barking incessantly.
#3 Exaggerated reactions
Even if your dog has eaten things off the ground or maybe reacted actively to the presence of other dogs in the past, stressed dogs show similar reactions but on a much more intense level.
#4 Excessive salivation
If you notice your dog licking himself constantly and producing more saliva than usual, make sure to monitor the situation. If it lasts for a long time, do not underestimate it as it could be a sign of stress.
#5 Lack of attention
Stressed dogs suffer from generalized nervousness that makes them unable to focus, pay attention and follow obedience commands. However, if your dog normally has a low level of attention, you should check with your vet for attention deficit.
#6 Excessive breathlessness
Dogs use excessive exhaling to expel body heat, so if you notice your dog panting in situations where he should be comfortable, he probably needs to relieve the tension he feels. Pay close attention to these behaviors as excessive panting is quite common among a stressed dog’s symptoms.
#7 Hair loss
Hair loss usually occurs in cases of chronic stress. If you notice your dog starting to shed due to anxiety, you should see your vet as soon as possible. In some cases, this could result from his compulsive licks or because he pulls it directly with his teeth.
#8 Muscle stiffness
Among the numerous signs of stress in dogs, muscle stiffness accompanied by unusual posture is one of the most common ones. In these cases, you will notice the dog’s tail and limbs in tension as if something important is about to happen.
#9 Behavioral changes
Finally, we conclude the list of signs of a stressed dog with a common problem: behavioral changes. It is very common for dogs suffering from anxiety and stress to start exhibiting behaviors that they had never shown before: aggression, shyness, depression, phobias, etc.
Which are the dog calming signals?
- Tongues (lick nose)
- Show whites of the eyes
- Close the eyes
- Look away with the eyes or turn the entire head away
- Suddenly start sniffing
- Suddenly start scratching
- Moves slowly
If the calming signals are not recognized or understood, your dog may show stress signals, which occur unconsciously through frustration or conflict. Through these signals, your dog can release tension and regain control of his emotions.
How to help our dog in case of stress?
Regardless of the cause behind the stress, learning how to communicate with your dog is a fundamental step. Always encourage his positive behaviors with food rewards, cuddles, and caresses and never force him in situations. Dedicate enough time to him and take him for walks for at least 30-60 minutes a day.
Top products to help relieve stress in pets
Choosing a calming collar with safe, natural ingredients can have a major positive impact on stressed dogs’ behavior. These ingredients are gradually released over a period of 3 to 4 weeks, leaving the dog feeling calm, relaxed, and settled, which reduces his destructive problem behavior.
Calming collars contain non-toxic and natural plant essential oils, which are often used in human health care to manage stress and anxiety. This collar is durable, and once fitted, the products will immediately start to be released, so the dog will begin to relax within few hours. It has been proven to help reduce excessive barking, chewing, scent-marking, and other undesirable behaviors.
Dog Anxiety Vest
Anxiety vests are a great alternative to using drugs to relieve a stressed dog. They’re specifically designed to apply the right amount of pressure for dogs who need a little extra support during stressful situations. Some vests have a complete system that wraps the entire body. The full chest fit ensures maximum torso coverage for a swaddling effect without restricting the dog’s breathing or movement.
Calming beds for dogs
Your dog’s health and happiness matter, every dog needs a calming bed.
Not only does it ease their stress and anxiety, but it also promotes deep, undisturbed, and restful sleep, relieves pain and correct posture, calms nerves, and triggers ‘peace of mind’ in times of distress, and enhances the overall mood and mental health naturally.
Anti-anxiety calming dog bed is made of a fluffy faux fur material to mimic a mother’s coat with deep crevices and high rims that positively activate the nervous system and creates a sense of security.