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How to Spot and Reduce Stress in Dogs

A dog is a man’s best friend, and we all want our furry four-legged friends to be as happy and healthy as possible. But our dogs, no matter how important, are only one part of our lives, and we can’t be there every single moment, so it is important to make sure that the time we do spend together is quality time and that we are doing everything we can to make sure our dog is healthy and taken care of. If you notice your dog is acting strangely, it might actually be suffering from too much stress. So, what causes stress in dogs, and what can we do about it? 

Dog Behavior - How to Spot and Reduce Stress in Dogs

Recognizing key behavior patterns

There are a few things that have to be done when talking about stress in dogs, and the very first step is recognizing different behavior patterns that can signify stress. These symptoms can often look just like normal dog behavior, but it is important to look deeper. Every dog barks, but if you notice that your dog is barking excessively when you leave the house or at a specific time of the day, they might be suffering. Any sign that your dog is uncomfortable might also be a sign of stress: drooling, shaking and shivering, panting, being destructive or violent for no reason can all point to the same thing – stress.

Things to avoid to reduce stress

Essentially, dogs are living beings, just like you and me, and we should treat them as such. So, the next time you are spending time with your dog which is behaving a strange way, think about how you would react if you were in that very same situation. Imagine someone six times your size is trying to hold you down and pet you or that someone is trying to tell you to do something in a foreign language you don’t understand. This would probably stress you out. Most importantly, don’t forget that it’s quite stressful when someone is trying to limit your behavior. Dogs are naturally interested in the world around them, just like us. So, imagine how you would feel if someone covered your eyes and pulled you away every time you want to look at something on the street. That is what pulling on your dog’s leash feels like to them.

Dog looking - How to Spot and Reduce Stress in Dogs

Know what to do to combat stressful situations

Just recognizing that your dog is stressed isn’t enough. We need to consciously tackle these problems and see what we can do to make our pet feel better. Sometimes it can be easy: if your dog gets stressed and scared when there is thunder or fireworks outside and wants to be held – just hold them until it passes. Also, speak in a calm voice, rather than a patronizing one, since a calm voice will assure them that there is nothing to be frightened of. Other times, it can be a lot more complicated. If your dog has separation anxiety, you can sign it up for a full behavioral management program, or find someone who does pet sitting jobs to take care of them while you are not there. If you are unsure how to approach the problem, talk to your veterinarian and ask for advice because they will know what is the best thing to do.

Our dogs are the most loyal friends we will ever have and it should be a no-brainer that we should do all we can to reduce their stress levels since stress can lead to much bigger health issues. So, remember to give your dog lots of love and attention and keep that tail wagging from joy.

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