Is your dog stressed out?

Is your dog stressed out?

Dog owners and experts talk a lot about stress or anxiety in a dog, which can lead to a variety of unwanted behaviours.

These range from house accidents to tail chasing to aggression.  A dog feels stress when they are in an uncertain situation. 

When a dog feels threatened, you’ll notice stress in his coat (fur will fluff), pupils will dilate or eyes will widen and the body will become rigid and tense.  Dogs can also feel stress from emotional strains in the home or in his life – for instance, with separation anxiety or fighting between couples. 

One or more stress signs can signal illness, ask your vet about your dog’s behaviours if he seems anxious.  DAP plug-ins, lavender candles or sound machines may otherwise mend the problem.  Active toys, exercise, a healthy diet and confidence-building games can also help with stress.

Typical causes of stress:

  • Loneliness
  • Boredom
  • Separation anxiety
  • Family fights and problems
  • Change in the family structure – a new baby, death, divorce or moving
  • Too little exercise
  • Changes to the routine

Typical signs of stress:

  • Licking (self, floor, furniture, walls)
  • Excessive shedding
  • Tail down or between legs
  • Ears flat and back against the dog’s head
  • Avoiding eye contact, acting shy, appearing wide-eyed
  • Pacing or running along a fence
  • Biting, growling, snarling
  • Panting, lip licking, drooling
  • Refusing food and water or treats
  • Scratching his body
  • Stressful pooing or weeing where the dog shouldn’t  
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea
  • An inability to settle down
  • Trembling