What to do if my dog ​​is stressed?


Unlike what we might think, our pets are not so different from us when it comes to health. They suffer colds, stomach aches and also, although it may sound surprising, they may suffer stress. There are many reasons that can be generated, but today we will focus on knowing what the clues will show you if your dog is stressed.

You may be thinking that your friend does not bark when it is not due or that he stays calm almost all the time and, because of that, your dog is not stressed. Make no mistake, stress does not always mean that the animal looks like a madman, sometimes it can be proven totally contrary. Let's show you 10 signs or signs that will help you perceive if your dog is stressed.

10 signs to know if your dog is stressed

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  • Destructive behavior. You don't want to break something when you're stressed? Do not be surprised then if when your dog is stressed, he wants to bite objects or even other people. It is his way of wanting to put out the stress and what will show you if your dog is stressed or not.
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As you can see, stress is not always something that is obvious, so we encourage you to watch your dog carefully to see if he is stressed. If you discover that it is, you will surely want to do something to help him. We will give you some tips in an upcoming article.

Causes and symptoms of stress in dogs

There are many causes for which a dog can feel stress, What are they:

  • Changes in your daily routine
  • Lack of exercise
  • Noise
  • Take it to an unknown place, and / or the veterinarian
  • Arrival of a new member home
  • Tense family atmosphere

Depending on the personality of the animal, it will assimilate it in one way or another. For example, if the dog is shy, he may become apathetic and not want to relate much to people, but if he is a rather restless animal, he may begin to have inappropriate behaviors. In any case, you should know that they are very sensitive animals, so to help them, you must try to understand them.

A stressed dog is a dog that can make your needs in inappropriate places, which can be aggressive in certain situations, that you will not be able to sleep at 4pm what should, and what will be very restless. In some cases, it could even go to the mountains of other dogs as well as objects and humans, and at excessive autoaseo To try to calm down.

Stress treatment in dogs

Today we have several remedies to treat stress in our dogs. Of course, you can go to the vet to ask for a pill to relax you, but from my point of view, that would only end the symptom, and not the problem itself. To totally eradicate stress, It is essential to know why you feel this way, and for this we often have to look for the solution in the family environment, to know what makes us feel stressed, and to look for a solution (relaxation sessions, for example).

You may think that human emotions do not "spread" to dogs, but the reality is rather different. If you are stressed, Your dog will feel that way too.

All remedies given to the animal must be seen and used as an extra help, not as the definitive treatment. The "extra help" that can be given are:

  • Put on an Adaptile collar: This necklace mimics the smell of the mother's hormones during breastfeeding, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • T-Touch massages: This method was developed by Linda Tellington Jones, and is based circular movements with fingers and hands on the whole body of the animal, little by little.
  • Veterinary prescription medication: For severe cases, medications prescribed by a veterinarian may be used temporarily.

Stress in dogs can mean that something is not going well in the family: a tense environment, problems, ... If your friend does not feel well, pay attention so that everyone can be happy again 🙂.

What is stress? What are the most common causes?

When we talk about stress, we mean a auto answer that generates the dog's body before a stimulus concrete. The stimulus can be of any type: a person, a dog, a car, an environment. Sometimes the stress can be positive, for example, when our dog is excited to meet another companion dog. But it can also be negative, especially when we talk about dogs that have not been properly socialized and are afraid of the environment, other pets or people.

Stress generates a reaction in the dog's body. That can lead to an escape attempt or reactivity (a negative response such as barking, grunting and attack attempts). It will depend on each dog and on each specific situation.

Stress combines several factors, including adaptation to the environment, the dog's needs and the succession of positive factors that brighten his life. Thus, if we do not meet these basic requirements our dog will be stressed.

The welfare of a pet comes to fulfill the five freedoms of animal welfare that include in summary:

  1. Free from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
  2. Discomfort free
  3. Free of pain, disease and wounds
  4. Free expression
  5. Free from fear and stress

Meeting all these needs and observing a healthy dog ​​we can say that it is a dog that enjoys a feeling of well-being. However, if not, our dog may be suffering stress. Here are the most common symptoms of stress in dogs.

Most common causes of stress in dogs:

As we have commented previously one of the most common causes is a bad socialization. If we have not taught our dog (or we have not had the opportunity) to relate to people, pets and environmental elements since puppy, the dog can develop serious fears. Sometimes that translates into scary and shy dogs but sometimes we find dogs that have very bad reactions.

Still, there may be fears and phobias that may have been generated after a bad experience that the dog has suffered: it has been bitten, it has been lost, it has lost a relative. This type of situation causes stress and confusion.

On the other hand, factors related to animal welfare also cause stress: lack of walks, be chained to a specific place, to suffer a disease, not to be able to relate as you wish, to be locked up. All this affects your mental health and causes you stress.

Symptoms and behavior of a stressed dog

We can think that we fulfill all the freedoms of the dog and that he enjoys a happy life but sometimes we find behaviors that show that this dog is not at all happy, moreover, that he suffers from a situation of significant stress.

If we do not remedy this problem that, influenced by the environment, social needs and others cause a mental problem, we can make our pet begin to suffer changes in its behavior, resulting in behavioral problems.

Some clues that indicate stress in our pet:

  • Stereotypes: These are repetitive behaviors or movements that have no function. In the kennels we can talk about cases of dogs that spin over themselves for hours, that is indeed a stereotypy.
  • Aggressiveness: If until then our pet had been a pet with normal behavior and begins to develop aggressiveness in certain situations, these obviously have an impact on the health of our pet who will increase his stress levels.
  • Apathy: Although some dogs demonstrate their stress through aggressiveness or somewhat extreme behaviors there are also cases of dogs that will not show any behavior. Seeing an extremely apathetic dog is just as serious as the one that performs stereotyping.
  • Excess activity: It's not the same as talking about a tireless dog. These are pets that, while being extremely tired, are unable to cease their movements and behavior.
  • Use negative reinforcement or aggressiveness: In addition to being dangerous not only for us, but also for those in our environment, these behaviors generate a high level of stress in our dog. We will avoid all kinds of negative behavior.
  • Fear: It can be about fear of people, other dogs or we can talk about widespread fear. Those dogs that have had very negative experiences in their lives may suffer fear that generates stress.

Other signs that can be a symptom of stress in the dog can be excessive gasping when we observe excessive activity (or hyperactivity), an excessive reaction to some stimuli, excessive licking, hair loss, muscle stiffness. This type of generalized behavior translates directly into stress. Next we will explain what to do if your dog is stressed.

If we also use punishment tools (hanging collar, anti-bark collar and semi-hanging collar) or physical or verbal punishment itself, we will be getting worse and increasing stress on our dog. Do not punish a stressed dog under any circumstances.

Signs that a dog is stressed

Like humans, dogs can suffer stress. This state of nervousness can occur for many different causes. And, although each dog will have different symptoms, we can look for a few more common signs.

Throughout their day to day, dogs can go through many things that cause them stress: if they don't have long rest periods and days without stressors, nervousness will accumulate, and then stress problems are triggered.

The most common causes that lead dogs to this state are the high demands we have on their behavior: Many orders, many corrections or facing things that scare you throughout the day: unknown people, cars, bicycles or other dogs. Also important can be excessive noise, street works or drastic changes in your routine.

2. Has skin allergies

Many of the allergies that appear on dogs' skin are a symptom of stress. Uncontrollable itching, atopic dermatitis and other redness or pimples that appear on dogs' skin, especially in the armpits, the wind, and inside the hind legs, have their origin in stress.

3. Has frequent diarrhea without explanation

In the same way, if a dog has frequent diarrhea to which the veterinarian finds no explanation, or begins to be intolerant of certain foods, it can be a sign that a dog is stressed. It also happens to humans: The intestines are delicate and a heavy stress load can affect its functioning.

4. It smells bad

When you bathe your dog, after two or three days you again smell like a dog? The hormones that appear with stress also have a trace of smell: If you are very nervous you can smell through your skin.

This smell can be confused with that left by dogs when they are wet, although it is a bit more acidic. As it has nothing to do with your hygiene, it doesn't matter how many times you bathe it or cut her hair: as long as she continues to have stress, she will continue to give off that smell.

5. Cannot concentrate

This is another of the signs that a dog is stressed that humans also have in common: under strong levels of stress, we are not able to concentrate or learn. That is to say, if you propose interactive toys to your dog and he is not able to solve even the simplest ones, or if you want to teach him orders and he is unable to heed, he may be showing you his stress.

6. Riding behavior

Riding behavior has several origins: dogs can be mounted playing, they may be trying to reproduce, but often it is just a symptom of stress. Further, They can ride many other things besides dogs: our legs, sofa cushions or chair legs.

If your sterilized male or your female usually ride things, they are telling you that they are very nervous. If they also coincide with any of the other symptoms on the list, indeed, your dog suffers from stress.

7. Destroy things

Some humans, when they feel stressed, clench their teeth. The same goes for dogs, but Instead of going to the dentist to have a splint, they release the tension by biting what they find at home: they tear cushions, blankets or gnaw the legs of the chairs.

Destroying is not a habitual behavior for dogs, and it is another sign that a dog is stressed. If you get home and have no cushions, instead of fighting your dog, ask yourself why you are so nervous and what you can do to change it.

Stress is involuntary. In the same way that we humans cannot choose not to clench our jaws or not bite our nails, dogs cannot avoid riding legs or tearing blankets. Only by solving their source of stress can these behaviors be resolved.