Any dog owner knows that pups have a wide range of emotions, including stress. As easy as our four-legged friends’ lives may seem, they have things that stress them out, and it can appear in the worst of ways.
That’s why it is vital to know how to read the signs that your dog is stressed and know what to do if they are. Here’s a quick guide on what to look out for and how you can help your pets feel more secure and at ease.
Are they barking almost constantly?
Just as babies always cry for a reason, dogs will only bark if they’re in need. Some dogs are certainly more vocal than others, but near-constant barking is never normal.
If you’ve recently adopted a dog – either through the Humane Society of New York or elsewhere – it’s common to witness a lot of barking during your first few months of ownership. However, if it continues excessively, it may be worth asking for support.
Unfortunately, barking can lead many owners to become frustrated with their pets and feel less inclined to want to help them. Although it may seem as though they are simply being annoying or poorly trained, it could also be a clear sign that your dog is stressed.
If they are barking at the same person, object, room or area of the home, there may be something unsettling them that you’re unable to see. Try to adjust their space a little and see if there is any difference in behavior. It may be that they need to feel more at home and that something doesn’t feel right.
Are they whining a lot?
Much like barking, dogs whine for a purpose. They’ll do this for a variety of reasons, generally when their routine is unsettled or they are feeling uncomfortable.
Whining is often a sign of injury, but it can also be an indicator of stress. If they are anxious about you leaving, seem jittery at a certain time of the day or there’s a sound that bothers them, they may start whining and will not necessarily stop until they are reassured.
Reassuring an anxious or stressed dog isn’t always easy. The key is to establish comforting, predictable routines and to provide lots of exercise for your pet. If this does not work, it is wise to speak to a vet.
Are they shivering or shaking?
Although shivering may seem like a direct response to being cold, it can also be a sign of stress. Not all dogs shiver, but if yours does and they are in a warm area or feel warm, it could be that they are stressed.
Try to distract your dog with exercise or establish a calming, predictable routine. This may take time; a canine behaviorist or vet can help you brainstorm ideas.
Are they biting or scratching themselves?
Biting and scratching are common in dogs and are not usually a problem or cause for concern. However, when it reaches the point where your dog’s skin is getting red, they are losing fur, or they are making themselves bleed, there is likely an underlying issue at hand.
It could be that they have a skin condition or even an infestation of fleas. If a thorough check reveals there are no signs of either problem, it is likely that your dog is feeling stressed or anxious. Again, establishing comforting, predictable routines may help a lot to reverse this behavior.
Are they pacing a lot?
Some highly active dogs may zoom around the house to get rid of some energy, but pacing up and down the room often is not normal.
Often, when a dog is stressed, it will also whine as they pace. If they are not settling and you find them pacing for a long time frequently, it is worth consulting your vet about a remedy.
How do I care for a stressed dog?
The best way to help your pup is to find out what it is that is stressing them out. Dogs are complicated creatures, and the things that stress them are often the same things that stress us!
They can have anxiety about their owners or loved ones leaving them. New people or animals might be moving into the home, or there may be new smells that they do not recognize. Common occurrences such as moving, meeting new people, or even witnessing your own stress can worry dogs, too!
In fact, many owners do not realize that they cast their emotions on their dogs. If your pet can sense that you are stressed, it will likely stress them out, too. Whether you’re a new puppy owner or you have years of pet ownership behind you, it’s a lesson worth learning.
Try to find the root of the issue so you can address it properly. A good way of detecting an issue is by talking to your vet. They’ll help you understand which triggers are likely causing these behaviors so you can ensure that your pup feels happy and more confident in the long term.
Leave a Reply