It’s not just humans who can become anxious, worried, and stressed out.Animals, including dogs, can get stressed as well. If you are a dog owner, it’simportant to know how to tell if your pet is suffering from stress. Here arethe seven big warning signs to look out for.
1. Pinned-back ears. When a dog is happy, his ears will appear relaxed.If a dog’s ear are pulled back and held low, he may be anxious and disturbed.
2. Excessive or unnecessary panting. Obviously, dogs spend a lot of timepanting — it’s how they stay cool. However, panting can also be a sign oftrouble. A dog that pants constantly, or in circumstances where he obviouslydoesn’t need to cool off, might be under stress. Look out for shallow breathingas well.
3. Accidents. A house-trained dog who suddenly starts having accidentsall over your home is probably dealing with anxiety and worry. The one majorexception would be if the behavior were a symptom of illness or food poisoning.
4. Changes in eating habits. Anxious dogs are less likely to eatnormally. A stressed canine may eat less, become pickier about what he eats, orbe unusually thirsty. Digestive problems (such as vomiting) can also betriggered by stress.
5. Antisocial behaviors. For the most part, dogs are friendly creatureswho enjoy being around humans and their fellow canines. That’s why a dog whostarts acting differently might be having problems. The primary warning signsare isolation, hiding, lack of eye contact, or any other avoidant behavior. Anyform aggression (such as growling) directed at either humans or other dogs is asign of trouble as well.
6. Excessive barking. Ordinarily, barking is normal canine behavior –especially when there is an obvious external trigger, such as a wild animal.However, if a dog barks almost constantly, or for no apparent reason, the realcause might be stress. Similar rules apply to behaviors like whining orgrowling.
7. An increase in sleeping. Dogs suffering from stress are likely tospend more time sleeping, as a means of coping with their mental distress.Similarly, lethargy or a lack of normal energy can also be triggered by anxietyand stress.
Don’t worry too much if your dog displays just one or two of theindicators described above. There can be variances in a dog’s regular activity,so some unusual behavior isn’t a big deal. The time for concern is when yourdog displays a larger number of warning signs, and/or his worrying behaviorcontinues for an extended period of time. It’s also important to keep yourpet’s individual personality in mind, since what qualifies as normal can varydrastically from dog to dog.
Watching for signs of stress in your dog will allow you to nip theproblem in the bud before it becomes serious. As a pet owner, it’s your duty tocare for your canine friend, and make sure he is reasonably happy. Anxious dogsare more likely to act out in destructive, negative ways; they may ruinfurniture or display such aggressive behavior as barking or even biting.Clearly, a dog’s anxiety is bad for everyone, so make sure you learn to spotthe biggest potential warning signs of stress in dogs.