There’s nothing worse than seeing you dog in distress. As a pet parent, you’re programmed to do everything in your power to ease their woes. However, if you know how to read the warning signs, you can tamp their stress before it becomes a problem. Mr Miyagi once said: “The best way to avoid punch? No be there.” By deciphering the right symptoms, you can ensure your pooch avoids the meaty punch of stress.
Too Much Panting Means Your Dog’s Stress is Growing Legs
Dogs don’t have sweat glands, so panting is their only means of staying cool. On a hot day or after a long run in the park, it’s natural for your dog to pant. However, if it’s a cold morning and your pup hasn’t even chased the mailman, you might have a problem. If they’re panting more than normal, there’s a chance that their nascent worry is causing them to overheat.
Loss of Appetite? The Vice of Stress Could be Appe-tightening
For most pooches, food is one of the great pleasures of life. It’s a shame, then, that many dogs lose their appetite when they start to feel stressed. There are, of course, many questions to ask yourself in this situation: “Have I changed my pup’s diet?” “Are they exercising less?”, and “Have they fallen ill?” are all great places to start. However, if the answer to all of the above is “No”, there’s a good chance stress could be the culprit.
Digestive woes like diarrhoea and constipation can also hint at stress, so when in doubt, listen to your dog’s stomach.
“Stereotypies” Isn’t a Typo – It’s a Sign of Stress
Does your dog keep doing something over and over again for no reason? Will they not stop chewing on the rug, or digging holes in the backyard? Do they bark all day long, even when there isn’t another dog in sight? These behavioural ticks are called stereotypies, and they’re a sign that your pup will soon dance with Lady Stress.
Body Language Speaks Louder than Words
Reading your dog’s body language is a complex enough process to warrant its own blog post – which is why we’ve written one. Suffice to say, there’s a lot to unpack in the way your pooch moves their tail and holds their ears. Read up on your furry friend’s body language and you’ll catch their early signs of anxiety.
Can’t Sleep, Stress Will Eat Me
Does sleep evade you when you’re fretting about an issue at work, school, or home? Well, your dog is no different. When they’re feeling stressed, sleep will be an elusive sprite to them – always beyond reach and impossible to pin.
So What Can You Do to De-Stress Your Dog?
If you spot any of these signs, you should book your pooch an appointment with the vet. Until they’ve been examined, you can’t rule out the possibility that your pup could be sick instead of anxious. Once the vet has given your dog a clean bill of health, you can commence with “Operation: Happy Puppy.”
Begin by creating a safe space for your pup in your home. This will be a haven for them when they’re feeling overwhelmed, and should be removed from the main living area. If you populate your pooch’s safe space with a crate or box in which they can hide; a blanket; and a favourite toy, they’ll have everything they need to chill their stress levels.
If they’re having trouble settling into their safe space, leave a few treats inside their crate or box. Add one patient Owner or Pet Sitter willing to give them cuddles, and it will feel like home sweet home before they know it!
Beyond that, your greatest weapon in the fight against stress will be exercise. Give your anxious pup as much outdoor time as they need – and if you can find time to play fetch with them every day, all the better!
Do you need a hand from an expert to relax your dog? Book a Pet Sitter today!