When you’re stressed out, you might have difficulty eating, sleeping, and doing your normal routine. Your dog is no different! Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend; many of their stress symptoms mirror how people manifest anxiety as well.
Wondering how to spot signs of stress in dogs? According to VCA Hospitals, the signs of anxiety can be subtle so it’s important to be aware of them in order to spot it. We’ve compiled a list of 5 common signs of canine stress. Learn how to determine if your pet is anxious and how you can calm them down.
5 Common Signs of Stress in Dogs
1. Gastrointestinal Issues
Pay attention to any changes in your dog’s appetite or stool. Diarrhea, constipation, and a loss of appetite are common signs of stress. If any of these symptoms persist for a few days or you spot blood in your dog’s stool, contact a vet right away.
2. Retreating From Usual Habits
Take note if your dog’s behavior changes dramatically. If your dog typically loves going on walks or lounging on the couch with you but has suddenly started hiding, something’s up. Isolation and seclusion can signify that they’re anxious.
You’re likely very familiar with your dog’s sleeping habits. You know their favorite nap spot and when they like to sleep. If you notice that your dog is sleeping more than usual or seems lethargic, this can be a sign of stress.
4. Unusual Vocalization
Listen for any sounds of stress. Growling, whimpering, whining, barking, or excessive panting can all point to anxiety.
5. Out-of-the-Ordinary Body Language
You know your dog best. If you notice that your dog has pinned-back ears and a tail between the legs or has been shedding, drooling, scratching, and yawning more than usual, they may be overwhelmed.
Why Is Your Dog Stressed?
This can be caused by a variety of factors, from a disrupted routine like moving or getting a new addition to the family to noisy environments. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the most common causes of anxiety in dogs are fear, separation, and aging.
Take note of when your dog exhibits signs of stress and try to connect them to different situations. If symptoms persist, this could be an indication of a bigger issue like illness. Don’t hesitate to contact your vet to ask about any dramatic changes in behavior.
How To Calm a Stressed Dog
First and foremost, it’s important to identify the cause and try to resolve it. Try some of our tips to calm your dog. Of course, some things—like thunderstorms, travel, or vet visits—can’t be avoided. When you need to calm down your dog, try giving them extra attention and cuddle time, going for a walk, or giving them a beloved toy and treat.
If the anxiety is a serious problem, the American Kennel Club recommends visiting a veterinarian. They can help you identify the type of anxiety your dog suffers from and how to avoid triggers.