Dogs are known for their unconditional love and loyalty towards humans. These furry friends can bring happiness and comfort to their owners, but sometimes they can also experience stress just like humans. Dogs are sensitive animals, and they can easily get overwhelmed by the changes in their environment, routine, or even their owners’ behaviour. Stress in dogs can manifest in different ways, including changes in their behaviour, physical appearance, and overall health.
Signs of Stress & Anxiety in Dogs
As a dog owner, it is essential to be aware of the signs of stress in dogs and take appropriate measures to relieve it. In this blog, we will discuss the signs of stress in dogs, its causes, and various techniques to relieve stress in dogs.
Panting & Rapid Breathing– Dogs have a sympathetic nervous system. When a dog is stressed, their system releases adrenaline and increases its heart rate, which causes panting. If your dog is panting even when he has not exercised, it may be a sign of stress.
Shaking– Just like humans, dogs also pace or shake when anxious. Shaking is a physical response to anxiety. This is commonly observed when visiting the veterinarian. Many dogs jump or shake it off at the vet’s table.
Barking– Vocalization is a form of self-expression in dogs. This can be intensified when they are in stress. Dogs cannot control barking when they are stressed. Barking is a way of telling their owners that they are stressed about something.
Hiding or Escaping– Dogs may hide or try to escape when they are stressed. They may go under furniture, hide in closets, or seek quiet places to escape the stressor.
Aggressive Behaviour– Dogs may display aggressive behaviour like growling, biting, or lunging at other dogs or people. Chewing objects compulsively or excessively licking themselves or other objects can also be a sign that they are experiencing stress.
Loss of Appetite– When a dog is feeling stressed, their bodies are producing stress hormones that can suppress its appetite. They may not be as interested in food, or they may stop eating altogether. This can be a problem because stress can make it harder for a dog to get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
How to Calm an Anxious Dog
Provide a Safe and Comfortable Environment– Creating a safe and comfortable environment for your dog is the first step in relieving stress. This can include providing a cosy bed, a quiet and secluded place for them to retreat to, and making sure their needs for exercise and stimulation are met.
Training & Socialization– Training and socialization can help reduce stress and anxiety in dogs. Teaching your dog basic commands, like “sit” and “stay,” can give them a sense of control and increase their confidence. Socializing your dog with other dogs and people can also help reduce their stress levels.
Massage– Massage can help reduce stress in dogs by increasing circulation and promoting relaxation. Gentle stroking and petting can help calm a stressed dog, and some dogs may even enjoy a full-body massage. You can even apply anxiety wraps on your dog’s coat or prepare your own version of anxiety wraps using clothes or blankets. Such things provide immediate relief to dogs.
Music Therapy– Music therapy has been shown to have a calming effect on dogs. Soft, soothing music can help relieve stress and anxiety, and some dogs may even respond well to specific types of music.
Anti-Anxiety Medicines– If all the above relief measures seem to be ineffective, you can consider taking a vet’s prescription for anti-anxiety medicines. The dosage and duration of the medicine can be based on your dog’s age, health and lifestyle. Medication may alleviate your dog’s response to triggers.
In conclusion, recognizing the signs of stress in dogs and taking steps to relieve it is important for the health and happiness of your furry friend.
Training is a great way to prevent anxiety in dogs and promote proper behaviour. Consider seeking the services of Paw Purrfect, where our experienced trainers can help your dog lead a happy, healthy and stress-free life. Book your appointment today!