Is your dog’s behavior uncharacteristic? Does he seem distant or anxious? It could be that he’s stressed out. Has he been shivering and panting more than normal or yawning excessively? Are his ears pinned back?
These are all common signs of anxiety, and you need to deal with them. Most of us wish we could live the same carefree lives that our dogs do. The rub is that they too have stresses to deal with. Your dog might not have the boss from hell, but being separated from you is stressful for them.
In this post, we’ll go through the signs of stress in dogs. Then we’ll look at how you can help them overcome the anxiety.
Signs of Stress
Shaking Head and Panting Excessively
If you’ve been asking, “Why is my dog shaking and panting?” there are a few possible answers. If it’s hot, or the dog has been exercising panting and shaking are normal. If he’s very excited, he may also pant. If there’s no discernible reason, he may be stressed.
Gastric upsets like diarrhea or constipation could be a result of stress. If the symptoms don’t clear up over the next day, or there’s blood in the stools, get the dog to your vet. You want to rule out any medical cause before treating for stress.
If a dog has an upset tummy, they might avoid food for a day or so. If they’re not eating at all, or they’re eating a lot less than usual, get them to the vet. Again, this is to rule out a physical ailment. If they’re all clear physically, then it’s probably stress.
If your dog is ordinarily discernible and now wants to be left alone, he might be stressed or ill.
Sleeping More Than Normal
Does your pooch seem to be lethargic or sleeping a lot more than usual? Again, this could be a sign that your dog is stressed, so take him to the vet.
Just like humans, dogs can be irritable if they’re stressed or sick. There are many reasons for aggression, though, so it’s best to speak to your vet or see a professional dog trainer for assistance here.
Why Is My Dog Stressed?
There are a number of reasons that your dog could be stressed out. These include:
- Changes in his environment: Is there a new pet or baby in the home? Have you recently moved? Are you spending less time with him? These could all stress your dog out.
- He doesn’t know what your expectations are: Dogs can also become stressed when they don’t have a strong pack leader to follow.
- They don’t have a set routine: Dogs function better with a set routine.
- Separation anxiety: Dogs may suffer from separation anxiety, and that causes them a lot of stress.
- He may be sick or in pain: Not all dogs react with irritability when stressed out.
Treatment for Stress
Speak to Your Vet
First things first, get your pet to the vet. A visit to the veterinarian is essential to rule out any medical causes for the anxiety. If necessary, the vet can prescribe medication to help your dog.
Exercise and Play with the Dog
Exercise is just as good at relieving stress in dogs as in humans.
Get Him a Hidey Hole
The spot could be under the table where his favorite toy is. It’s a place where he can go to feel safe, preferably somewhere near you.
Check His Diet
A dog that isn’t eating the right food won’t have the vitamins and minerals he needs to help him deal with stress.
If you’re familiar with your dog’s behavior, you’ll soon pick up on signs that he’s anxious. Once you’ve ruled out medical causes, you can help him feel more secure. You’ll need to see if you can understand why he’s so stressed out.
If you can’t determine this, a good behaviorist should be able to figure it out for you. From there, it’s just a matter of reducing the stressors in his life. A healthy diet and exercise will go a long way to help him feel better. Making sure that he has a safe den to hide in when there’s a stressful event is also a good policy. Spending time with him will also relieve anxiety. If all else fails, medication might be required to get your dog over the hump.
Also read: How Can You Tell if a Dog is Nervous to the Point of Being Aggressive?