Believe it or not, our canine companions get stressed. The circumstances and degrees of this can vary from dog to dog since no two are exactly alike, but it’s still something all dog parents must be wary of.
Also, like humans, dogs can show their stress in different ways. To be a responsible dog parent, you must understand your dog’s signs of distress to ensure that both you and your canine companion can maintain a happy and healthy relationship together.
For the record, each of these recommendations for solutions should never replace the advice of your veterinarian. If one or more of these issues appear in your pet’s life and show no signs of stopping, please take your canine to see a vet as soon as possible.
1. Digestion Issues
To be fair, the underlying cause of digestion problems can be hard to pinpoint. Because dogs don’t usually eat like humans do, digestive issues could signify almost anything.
However, if symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, or other digestion issues last longer than two to three days, it might behoove you and your dog to see if there are external stressors that are factoring into their overall health.
Most of all, be sure to visit your vet. They can determine the cause of your dog’s tummy troubles and help you identify stressors that could be causing them.
2. Sudden Aggression
Aggression is a major issue no matter what, but if it seems to be directed toward a particular person or animal, it may be best to remove the cause until a better solution can be reached.
Naturally, this is a heartbreaking side effect for any pet parent to see their animals exhibit, but the importance of aggression in an animal who hasn’t otherwise shown it before cannot be overlooked.
Dogs can act aggressively when they’re stressed, in pain, or facing some medical condition. See your veterinarian to find the cause. You may also need to consider finding a professional trainer if the aggression continues.
3. Body Language
Often you’ll hear people say that dogs are unpredictable because they can’t communicate with their human family. This isn’t totally true. Dogs have their own forms of communicating that experienced and observant dog parents can identify.
Ears, eyes, and position of the tail are key factors for interpreting your dog’s state of mind and are just as important for determining whether or not your dog is stressed. However, other signs that you might not notice include things such as itching and scratching, excessive drooling, shaking, shedding, yawning, and licking.
Again, none of these signs — either separate or together — are a sure way to tell if your dog feels stressed. However, if you see your pet exhibiting new behavior and doing these things regularly, it might be time to take them to a vet to rule out any alternative health issues such as allergies, skin conditions, and more.
Going potty in the house when your dog is already house-trained can be another major sign of a stressed animal. Once or twice may not be a big deal, but if it becomes a habit, it might be time to investigate further.
Check to see if there’s a reason your dog may not want to go outside. Is there a new dog in the area? Or a wild animal? Perhaps a major life change has thrown your pup out of sync.
It may also be important to consider your dog’s age in this one. If they are older, stress may not be a factor so much as them not being able to move fast enough to get outside, or they may be suffering from incontinence. Again, this is a harder symptom to pinpoint.
Remember to always be patient with your dog. They’re telling you something is wrong the best way they know how.
5. Sleep, Or Lack Thereof
If your dog is sleeping less or more than normal, something may be up. Like humans, dogs can suffer disruptions in their sleep schedule when they feel stressed.
Sleeplessness or excessive lethargy might also be a sign of something more severe, so if these issues persist be sure to take your pup to a vet as soon as possible.
Remember, these signs are not guaranteed indicators of stress. No one knows your dog better than you, but if one or more of these things are recurring in your dog, please take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the sooner your dog will be happy, and you will be, too.