The 5 Signs your Dog Might be Stressed
Just like humans, dogs can also experience anxiety. If it goes unnoticed or untreated, occasional anxiety can lead to behavioral issues and consistent higher levels of stress.
Since dogs can't tell us how they are feeling with words, it's very important that dog owners know the signs, so it can properly be dealt with and hopefully prevented in future stressful situations.
Some anxiety triggers might include: Separation, car rides, crowded environments, unexpected loud noises, other dogs, meeting new people, etc...
Here are 5 signs your dog might be stressed:
#1. Increased Sleeping
You might notice your dog is taking extra naps and the naps are lasting longer than usual. While this could also be caused by simple reasons such as increased physical and mental stimulation that day, it's still important to consult your vet, as lethargy can be a symptom that your dog might also be getting sick.
#2. Decrease in Appetite
If your dog normally loves to eat and is suddenly acting extra picky or leaving food leftover, this could be a sign of stress. Talk to your vet if you notice a decrease in appetite so they can rule out any other underlying issues.
Since you know your dog better than anyone, you'll know how much time they typically like to spend alone. If your dog is spending an unusual amount of time being isolated from yourself and/or other dogs, they could be feeling stressed. Contact your vet so they can determine what is causing this out of the ordinary behavior.
#4. Diarrhea, Constipation, or other Digestive Issues
Typically, diarrhea and constipation are caused by a food allergy or some sort of stomach sensitivity, but gastrointestinal issues can also be a symptom of high levels of stress in your dog. If you notice these symptoms, especially if they last for more than 24 hours, consult your vet to figure out the cause so it can be treated accordingly.
#5. Sudden Aggression Toward People or Other Animals
You should know how your dog reacts to people and other dogs generally, and if they show abnormal signs of aggression, this could be caused by stress. Consult your vet if your dog continues to show these signs, as a behavioral specialist may need to be consulted if this isn't dealt with in the early stages.
How You Can Help Your Dogs at Home
While you should always contact your vet when you notice these out of the ordinary signs, there are things you can do at home to help your dog cope with stress.
1. Exercise and Play-time! Keeping your dog physically and mentally stimulated. Even an extra walk around the block can help relieve stress.
2. Create a "safe-space". Perhaps a crate filled with a favorite toy or an article of your clothing to let them cuddle with when you aren't home. Sometimes your scent can be very comforting.
3. Ensuring your dog has a healthy diet. An unbalanced diet can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.
4. There are supplements made specifically to help relieve anxiety in dogs and lower stress levels during triggering situations. A lot of dog owners have tried this option and have seen amazing results. Consult your vet before trying any supplements.
We hope this article was helpful. Knowing the signs of stress and looking out for them can help your dog lead a long, happy, and healthy life. Comment below any methods you have in your own home for helping your dog cope with anxiety!
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