Believe it or not, our canine companions get stressed. The circumstances and degrees of this can vary from dog to dog since no two are alike, but it’s nevertheless it’s something important of which all dog owners must be wary. Also, like humans, dogs can show their stress in different ways. To be a responsible dog owner it’s imperative that you understand your dog’s signs of distress to ensure that both you and your canine companion can maintain a happy and healthy relationship together.
For the record, each of these recommendations for solutions should never take precedence over the advice of a licensed veterinarian. If one or more of these issues are prevalent in your pet’s life and show no signs of stopping, please take your canine to see a medical professional as soon as possible.
1. Digestion Issues
To be fair, the underlying cause of this can be a hard one to pinpoint. Because dogs don’t eat like humans do (usually), digestive issues could initially signify literally almost anything. However, if symptoms such as constipation or diarrhea (two examples of many, for the record) last longer than 2 – 3 days it might behoove you and your dog to see if there are external stressors that are factoring into their overall health, and most of all be sure to visit your vet.
This is a major issue no matter what, but if the aggression seems to be directed toward a particular person or animal, it may be best to remove the cause until a better solution can be reached. Naturally, this is a heartbreaking side effect for any pet parent to see their animals exhibit, but the importance of aggression in an animal that hasn’t otherwise shown it before cannot be overlooked.
3. Body Language
Often you’ll hear people say that dogs are unpredictable because they can’t communicate with their human family. This is untrue. Dogs have their own forms of communicating that experienced and observant dog parents can identify. Ears, eyes, and position of the tail are key factors for interpreting your dog’s state of mind and are just as important for determining whether or not your dog is stressed. Other signs that might go unnoticed though are things such as itching and scratching, excessive drooling, shaking, shedding, yawning, and licking.
Again, none of these things either separate or together are a guarantee of stress. However, if you see your pet exhibiting new behavior and doing these things regularly, it might be time to take them to a vet to rule out any alternative health issues such as allergies, skin conditions, and more.
Going potty in the house when they’re already house-trained is another major sign of a stressed animal. Once or twice may not be a big deal, but if it becomes a habit it might be time to investigate further. Check to see if there’s a reason your dog may not want to go outside. Is there a new dog in the area? Or a wild animal? Perhaps a major life change has thrown your pup out of sync.
It may also be important to consider your dog’s age in this one. If they are older, stress may not be a factor so much as them not being able to move fast enough to get there. Again, this is a harder symptom to pinpoint. Remember to always be patient with your dog. They’re telling you something is wrong the best way they know how.
5. Sleep Or Lack Thereof
Like babies, your dog is under no circumstances guaranteed to sleep through the night. There will be accidents, missed potty breaks, and all the interruptions life affords. However, if your dog is sleeping less (or more) than normal, something may be up. Sleeping too much or excessive lethargy might also be a sign of something more severe, so if these issues persist be sure to take your pup to a vet as soon as possible.
Remember, these signs are not guaranteed indicators of stress. No one should know your dog better than you, but if one or more of these things are recurring in your dog, please take them to a licensed veterinarian as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the sooner your dog will be happy, and we guarantee that you will be too.