All pet owners want to make their furry friends happy and healthy. Just like humans, pets can also experience stress sometimes. Pets under stress may experience serious health problems. Therefore, it is vital to recognize the signs so that your pet can receive proper care.
Photo by Chris Shafer
Several health issues and stress in animals can lead to the warning signs that your pet is stressed, which will be discussed in this article. We will also discuss what you can do if you notice that your pet is under stress.
What causes stress in dogs?
Pets in general may be stressed because of many factors.
Changes in routine, loud noises; the most prevalent phobia among noise-sensitive canines was related to the sounds of explosions, with a prevalence of 26%. According to the survey, 32% of dogs experienced some degree of noise sensitivity.
Separation anxiety, environmental factors, and health issues are also among the common causes. Social factors and a lack of socialization can also cause stress in dogs.
Understanding stress symptoms and addressing the underlying causes is critical if you want to protect your pet’s health. If you have any reason to think that your dog may be stressed, speak with a vet or an animal behaviorist.
What are the signs of stress in dogs?
- Destructive behavior
Stressed dogs may manifest destructive habits. They may chew on shoes or furniture, rip up bedding, or dig holes in the yard. According to veterinarian, Aisling O’Keeffe, chewing furniture foam can have serious health implications.
When stressed, dogs, particularly those who feel confined or trapped, may pace back and forth. Pacing frequently in dogs is a sign of stress, which can lead to self-harm and other negative health effects.
- Increased Aggression
Stress can also lead to an increase in pet aggression. If your pet starts hissing, growling, or biting more often than usual, it might be a sign of stress.
It is important to deal with aggressive behavior in pets because it can cause harm or injury to other animals or people.
Dogs that experience stress can bark a lot; they do this to communicate their emotions.
- Changes in Sleeping Habits:
Stress can also have an impact on how your pet sleeps. Your pet may show signs of stress if they sleep more or less or have trouble falling asleep.
It could also be a sign of stress if your pet sleeps less than usual.
- Loss of appetite
When dogs are under stress, their appetites may disappear, which can result in weight loss and other health problems.
- Pinned back ears
Dogs’ ears may pin back under stress as a sign of submission or fear.
Dogs are prone to trembling or shaking under stress, especially if they are fearful or anxious. When they are stressed, they may shake frequently, and this behavior has been linked to negative health effects such as a weakened immune system.
- Tail between the legs
When under stress, dogs may tuck their tails between their legs to show fear or submission. According to a survey, 26% of dog owners said their dogs’ tails were often tucked as a sign of stress.
Dogs may pant excessively when they are stressed, especially if they are feeling hot or anxious. Panting in dogs can be associated with negative health outcomes such as dehydration and heat exhaustion.
- Digestive Issues
Stress-induced diarrhea can affect pets’ digestive systems, worsening digestive issues by increasing stomach acid.
Dogs who are subjected to stressors, such as kenneling or prolonged periods of isolation are more likely to develop digestive issues.
Other common signs of stress in dogs may include:
- Avoidance or isolation
- Licking their mouth or nose
- Excessive drooling
How to help a stressed dog
- Identify the source of the stress
To address the underlying cause of your dog’s stress, try to identify what is making him anxious.
Dogs frequently experience stress due to separation from their owners, loud noises, strange people or animals, as well as modifications to their routine or environment.
- Provide a safe and comfortable environment
Make sure your dog has a secure, cozy retreat they can go to when they’re feeling anxious, like a crate or a quiet room.
To make your dog feel more secure, provide soft bedding, toys, and scents that are familiar to them.
- Use positive reinforcement
Treats and praise are powerful positive reinforcement techniques to use when teaching your dog to associate enjoyable situations with difficult ones.
Give your dog a treat, for instance, and maintain your composure whenever they are around loud noises, like fireworks.
- Consider natural remedies
Natural remedies like lavender oil, chamomile tea, and CBD oil can all help your dog feel less stressed. Never administer any new supplements or medications to your dog without first talking to your veterinarian.
- Seek professional help
If your dog’s stress is severe or ongoing, seek the advice of a veterinarian or a trained dog behaviorist.
They can help you develop a customized strategy to reduce your dog’s stress and improve its quality of life.
- Stick to a Routine
Pets thrive on routine, and sticking to a regular schedule can help reduce their stress levels. This includes feeding your pet at the same time each day, taking them for walks at regular intervals, and providing them with regular playtime and exercise.
- Exercise and Playtime
Physical and mental health benefits from playtime and exercise. Regular exercise can help pets feel less stressed and anxious while also giving them a way to release stored energy.
Play is advantageous for mental stimulation and can help with boredom and stress reduction.
A recent study from Tufts University and the Center for Canine Behavior Studies found that participating in canine sports can reduce dogs’ anxiety.
The efficacy of therapies such as medication, dietary changes, and consultations with behaviorists was studied in 1,308 dogs. Participating in dog sports won out.
Stress in pets can lead to various health problems, and it is important to recognize the signs of stress to ensure that our pets receive the proper care they need.
Changes in behavior, loss of appetite, excessive grooming, changes in sleeping habits, digestive problems, hiding or avoidance behaviors, and increased aggression are all symptoms of stress in your pet.
By providing a calm environment, sticking to a routine, providing exercise and playtime, and consulting with your vet, you can help reduce your pet’s stress levels and improve their overall health and well-being.