Looking Out after Dog Health
Signs of a Stressed Dog: As a dog owner, taking care of your dog’s well-being is of extreme importance. Just like children, dogs can be affected by several different health problems. These include allergies, diseases, parasites, and even mental health issues.
Many dog parents are quick to pick on physical signs of illness. Regular visits to the vet for vaccination and any kind of physical symptoms are quite common. Dog health, however, is not limited to physical health problems alone.
Dogs are very sensitive creatures. They can experience a whole range of emotions just like humans. Your dog will appear happy, sad, angry, and even disappointed given the situation. There is no surprise that dogs feel stressed and anxious.
The Telltale Signs of Your Dog Being Stressed
Stress is a major concern in dogs. This is not only due to the negative health effects of stress but also due to the high incidence of stress in dogs. According to one study, 72.5% of all dogs experienced anxiety-related disorders.
This means stress in dogs is a widespread problem and must be detected and treated quickly. Here are some critical signs that tell you that your dog is stressed:
If your dog starts to pace around then it is a sign of stress. It indicates they are agitated. Walking the same path, again and again, shows that your dog is unsure and is experiencing discomfort. Usually, dogs do not display this behavior. So, if you notice pacing something is wrong.
Dogs and cats normally lick themselves. Licking is a form of self-grooming and there is nothing out of the ordinary about it. However, continuous licking is not a good sign. It shows your dog is feeling insecure and is using licking to comfort itself.
Drooling is again common among dogs. They drool when they see food or sometimes without any reason. Too much drooling, however, could be a sign of stress.
If you see your dog is drooling and panting more than it normally does then this could mean they are under stress. Stress results in body temperature rising and this leads to increased drooling and panting.
Dog parents can usually notice their dog’s expression quite well. Dogs have specific facial features. You and tell by looking at their eyes and the way they position their ears how they are feeling.
If the whites of their eyes are visible or their eyes appear to pop out then these are alarming signs. Such expressions indicate fear and stress.
Dogs can have phases where they eat less. Digestive problems are also the reason for reduced food intake. But if your dog is avoiding food more than usual and there is no underlying physical cause then it can be stressful.
Displaying Unusual Behaviors
Dogs are animals of habit. Each dog has its traits and habits. If your dog is acting unusual compared to its normal self, like growling a lot or licking more than it normally does, be sure to take these changes seriously.
Dogs are not able to vocalize their discomfort or stress which is why looking out for these behavioral signs is very important.
Reasons for Stress
Understanding the causes of stress is important for treating stress in dogs. Research into the issues indicates that dogs feel stressed due to bad living conditions and difficult training sessions. Even if you are a loving dog parent your dog can still be stressed due to unfamiliar environments.
Physical health problems can also lead to stress. Issues like chronic pain, in particular, can be difficult to deal with for your dog.
Furthermore, the incidence of stress in dogs varies according to breed as well. So it is best to research the specific breed of dog you own to understand stress behaviors. Here is a great website for anyone who owns a Shih Tzu as an example.
How to De-stress Your Dog Quickly
Once you notice your dog displaying any of the stress-related behaviors mentioned above, it is time to act quickly. You should see the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment, but you can help your dog to calm down.
The focus should be to comfort and calm down your dog so they feel secure. It is critical for your dog’s well-being that they get help immediately. You should take the following steps to de-stress your dog:
Provide Physical Contact
Dogs love to be held and cuddled. By giving them a hug or even a pat on the back you are letting them know they are secure. Physical contact is very important for dogs to feel safe and loved.
Release the Tension
Dogs display stress much like humans, by becoming tense. They tense their muscles, so a back rub or giving them a massage can help reduce tension in the muscles. This will help in calming down your dog and decreasing their anxiety. Massaging is also a great way of providing physical contact.
Taking your dog out, if going outside is not a potential stressor, can be very productive. Exercising and playing outside can help distract and soothe your dog. Pick any activity your dog enjoys and go with it so they feel happy.
Make Your Dog Happy
Talking about doing what your dog enjoys, try to make them happy by doing what they normally love to do. If your dog enjoys music or dancing, go for it. Music is great for lifting the mood. If there is a toy they enjoy give them that, or maybe a blanket in which they feel safe.
Stress is not a good thing. It can take a toll on your dog’s body mentally and physically so the best advice is to vary the signs of stress. Once detected, act quickly to de-stress your dog.