Your furbaby is no doubt a valued member of your family. You do what is right for them – unwavering love, healthy diet and stimulation to keep them happy. But how do we know what’s really going on in their clever little minds?
Bright eyes, energy and a wagging tail? You’ve got a very happy hound. Whimpering associated with obvious pain? A trip to the vet is required. But what about the harder to tell situations?
Stress is one of the harder to tell emotions. Stress can manifest itself in different ways in different dogs. However, it should be remembered that stress is generally a condition that will be better diagnosed over time, as you can see the symptoms and identify them. Below is a list of the signs:
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Excessive chewing (outside of puppyhood)
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Excessive licking or chewing/nibbling their own skin
- Change in behaviour (which wasn’t evident before)
- Toileting accidents, especially inside, or on the items
- Increased aggression
- Increased sleeping and withdrawal
- Ears back and eyes wide, frequently
- Excessive drooling
- Excessive yawning
There is a huge range of signs just like us humans. We suggest that you consider any changes in your dog’s routine and surroundings, as this can point to a stress-related problem. If you’re unsure, a trip to the vet will help you and your pooch.
Common stress triggers for dogs include:
- Changes in routine: Dogs are strongly routine driven. Disrupt their routine, even simply by changing your own bedtime, and they could become stressed. Make sure to try keeping as close to their routine as possible.
- Boredom: A dog left at home for hours can quickly become a stressed dog. Consider doggy day care London – it is stimulating, and there’s no chance for boredom.
- Noise: Dog’s hearing is far greater than our own hearing. Noise from doorbells to telephones to banging doors and traffic’ to ‘doorbells, telephones, banging doors and traffic. Try to eliminate noise by putting their bed in a limited noise area where trying can retreat to if they are becoming stressed with the noise.
- Unfamiliarity: Anything new is enough to unsettle the most well behaved dog – new visitors, new situations etc. Try to gradually introduce anything new so that your dog has time to adjust.
- Usurpers: Dogs are pack animals. They know exactly where they fit in theirs. Bringing home a new baby or another new pet into the home will unsettle them as they will have to re-establish their fit in the pack. Make sure you are still spending alone time with your pooch and give them love and exercise.
- Your emotions: Your dog is immensely loyal to you and because of that they easily pick up and absorb what you feel. Make sure you are calm and relaxed around them, and if you feel stressed, why not go for a nice long walk with your pet. You both will feel better afterwards.
How to help a stressed dog
By identifying what is causing stress is an important first step. In some cases, you’ll be able to remove the trigger. Offering affection and attention during an episode of stress will help your dog to calm down and return to their usual behaviour more quickly. You can also try the following:
- Exercise is a great stress reliever and stress preventer.
- Remove the stressors, where possible, from the environment.
- Offer praise and reward when your dog does something ‘good’ and help to build their self-esteem.
- Ensure your dog has their own space that is just for them.
- Keep your routine consistent.
- Make sure your dog isn’t left alone for long periods of time. .
- Dedicating some play time can help to expend energy and provide stimulation.
By keep a good routine and a calm home, your dog’s behaviour will reflect this. And if you feel like you can’t do this alone, seek out a dog behaviour specialist.