Signs Your Dog May Be Stressed (And How to Help!)

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Today (2nd November) marks National Stress Day, and we wanted to shed some light on signs of stress you may see in your dogs, and how you can help them feel better. 

Puppy hiding under a chair, the dog is looking distressed

As dogs have no way of telling us how they feel, it’s important you look out for signs. Here are the most common signs of stress in dogs:

  • Shaking

We’ve all seen dogs do their cute shake after jumping out of the shower, and it is often amusing. However, have you noticed they also “shake off” stressful situations? This is a common indicator of stress and is often seen in situations such as when your dog gets done on the exam table at the vets. 

  • Whining and Barking

Dogs normally communicate through sound, however when it begins to be excessive, it can be a cause for concern. They will typically whine and bark to get your attention when they are feeling afraid, such as when there are storms or fireworks going on. 

  • Shedding

Shedding increases when a dog is anxious. This is common in a lot of situations, such as a trip to the vet or even when meeting new dogs, although it is usually less noticeable in outdoor settings. 

Now that you know what signs to look for in your dog, we want to give you some tips on how you can help your dog feel better in stressful situations: 

  • Remove the Stressor

This should always be the first step. If your dog gets anxious at the dog park, for example, take him to a quiet spot. Try to resist the urge to over comfort your furry friend, instead try to reward them for performing some easy tricks – this creates a sense of normalcy and helps calm them down. 

  • See a Specialist

If your dog has constant anxiety symptoms, you should see your veterinarian. There may be no medical explanation, but you may be referred to a professional who can help or prescribed an anti-anxiety medication for your dog. 

  • Exercise 

As with humans, exercise is a brilliant anti-stressor. Try going on a quiet walk, but make sure your dog also has a safe place to retreat to when they get tired!

 

Remember that your dog cannot communicate the same way humans can, and it may be easy to overlook symptoms of stress and write them off as behavioural issues or inconveniences. Try to keep an eye on your dog and be understanding, after all they can’t help how they deal with stress!