If you have noticed a change in your dog’s appearance or behavior, it is possible that they are suffering from stress. Just like humans, the signs of stress in a dog are varied and can change over time, so how can you know if your dog is stressed? Unfortunately, there is no sure answer but there are signs and symptoms that are associated with a dog’s emotions which can help you understand what your dog is feeling and investigate the underlying cause.
Some signs of stress and sickness in a dog are very similar so always check with the vet that there isn’t an underlying medical problem. For example, if your dog is not eating well, is suffering from constipation or diarrhea it could be due to sickness, change in food, or as a result of stress. The same applies to dogs suffering from excessive yawning or drooling more than usual. Check with a vet and watch your dog’s behavioral changes over time as stress symptoms manifest slowly over periods of time.
Changes in habits such as excessive chewing of objects or themselves could be a sign of a stressed dog, as can an increase in aggression. Check that something has not changed in the dogs usual routine in the house, at doggies daycare or when he is out on a walk that may be causing him increased anxiety. Common stress factors for dogs are the introduction of new people or pets so its important to introduce the dog gradually to a new animal, or person into their life. Many pet owners find that a new baby in the house will cause a loved pet to start behaving differently toileting accidents, marking their territory on something belonging to the baby or general changes in behavior are all signs that the dog is struggling to find his place in the new hierarchy.
Dog’s that have enough exercise tend to be less stressed. Exercise is a great stress reliever and preventer. If your dog is left home alone it is possible he is feeling bored which will also cause him stress. Consider signing your dog up to a doggie daycare where he will have constant company and plenty of exercise. There are dog walking London services and dog walkers across the country that will come to take your dog on a walk while you are out. This ensures your dog receives the exercise needed and will stop them from being alone and bored.
Stress in a dog is usually caused by changes in their routine, the unfamiliar, noise, lack of attention or boredom. Once you recognize the symptoms of the dog’s stress you can make changes to help them. Make sure they have a safe space that is just for them, don’t leave them alone for too long alone, give them plenty of exercise and play and you will be rewarded with a happy stress-free dog.