How to tell if your Dog is Stressed out?

10 May

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Your dog might be your best stress-buster, but did you know that your pooch could also experience stress and need your help to deal with it? While occasional stress does not have any serious consequences, chronic stress can take a toll on your dog’s physical and emotional health. It’s therefore important to be aware of the causes of stress in dogs and make an effort to provide your pets with a stress-free and relaxed environment.

Causes of Stress in Dogs

Dogs generally experience stress when there is a change in their routine or environment. Here are some of the situations that may evoke stress reactions in pets.

  • Separation from the owner
  • New Home
  • Travel
  • Loss of a family member
  • New family member or visitor
  • New Pet
  • Boredom
  • Loneliness resulting from lack of socialization with other people or dogs

Signs of Canine Stress  

How do we tell if our dog is under stress? Each of us has a different way of coping with stress and the same applies to our dogs. Some dogs resort to destructive behaviour to deal with stress, others turn their stress inward and display physical discomfort. Here are some of the signs of stress in canines:

  • Excessive Barking or howling
  • Restless behaviour and destruction of household items
  • Biting or attacking people
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Illness such as diarrhea or vomiting
  • Lack of bowel or bladder control
  • Sweaty paws and stiff legs
  • Trembling and moving with the tail tucked between the legs

Coping with Stress

 The first step is to identify the cause of the stress. Only then can you take the action needed to help your dog deal with it.  For instance, if separation anxiety is what’s causing your dog to get stressed out, then you can think of ways to cope with it. You may consider working from home few days a week, or leave the television on at home when you’re out at work.

A healthy and happy dog can handle stress better. Keep your pooch physically active and look for ways to spend more time with him/her. Regular walking and games of frisbee, fetch and tug-of-war not only ensure that your dog gets good physical exercise but also allow you to spend some quality time with your pooch.

Regular trips to dog parks may help if your dog enjoys socializing with other dogs. Keep in mind, however, that some dogs suffer from social anxiety and may prefer more solitary activities. Consider getting your pooch some toys and games to stave off boredom and keep him/her mentally stimulated.

Image Courtesy: Funnypagenet.com

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