5 Dog Distress Signals You Should Recognize

Take note of these signs, and you'll be able to help relieve your pet's anxiety in no time
5 Dog Distress Signals You Should Recognize

Last update: 01 February, 2018

Loving and caring for your dog also means learning to recognize reasons for their actions and behaviors. Sometimes, certain actions that may seem strange or even funny to us. But, they actually indicate that something is not quite right. Here, we tell you how to recognize some of the most common dog distress signals.

1. Dragging its behind on the ground

If your pet is rubbing its behind on the ground, most likely it has just defecated. And, it is cleaning itself off. However, if it’s a common behavior that is accompanied by constant licking, it may well be that there is inflammation or infection of the anal glands. It’s a condition that causes itching and pain for your pet.

These two small glands, also known as the anal sacs, are found on each side of the anus. And, they are the ones that are responsible for producing a characteristic smell. This odor helps canines to identify each other and communicate (that’s why dogs smell each other’s behinds, and each other’s feces too).

When these sacks are blocked, they can not get rid of the brown or yellowish liquid by themselves. So, your dog will most likely embark on what many humans consider a very comical behavior: dragging their behinds along the floor.

So refrain from laughing or recording a funny video to share on social media. Instead, go to the vet to get your poor dog’s anal glands cleaned out.

Get to know the distress signals your dog sends out. After all, these can be easy to mistake for funny and harmless behavior

2. Constantly trying to catch its tail

Who hasn’t had fun watching a dog try to catch its own tail? 

But though it looks very cute, we also have to pay attention to this behavior. As long as it’s something that your dog does in moderation, there’s nothing to worry about.

The problem occurs when the action becomes compulsive. The issue is that, if your dog does seem to be chasing its tail compulsively, it could be developing stereotypy, or a psychological disorder characterized by repetitive physical movements. 

This is usually caused by boredom, anxiety and stress, and often occurs in animals that do not receive enough stimulation and spend too much time alone or locked up.

Another possibility is that a dog that’s constantly trying to catch its own tail suffers from pain in the spine, or has some kind of dermatological problem. If you’re in any doubt, take your dog to a vet as soon as you can to get a firm diagnosis.

3. Rubbing its face on things

If you notice your dog repeatedly rubbing its face against any old thing it meets on its wanderings, it is also a cause for alarm. 

It could be that the little creature is suffering from an infection of the eyes or ears. That might be why it’s rubbing its face on different surfaces, to try to relieve itching or pain.

Another possibility is that your dog has something trapped between its teeth – food leftovers, for example – and is trying to get rid of them.

It’s a behavior that should be monitored – if it persists, you should seek advice from a professional.

4. Crouching down on its front legs

Another one of the distress signals your dog may give out is to crouch on its front legs. 

Although it is usually a behavior linked to games and playing, if it appears out of context and repeatedly it can mean that your pet is suffering from severe abdominal pain.

It is recommended that you consult a qualified vet as soon as possible. It could be the case, for example, that your dog is suffering from pancreatitis.

5. Scratching itself excessively with its hind legs

The pose that dogs usually adopt when they scratch themselves with their hind legs is, frankly, funny to watch.

But again, if this scratching occurs persistently, it’s best to try to find out what is happening to your four-legged friend.

In these cases, it is most likely that the dog is suffering from a dermatological problem caused by, among other things:

Once again, it’s recommended that you consult with a professional as soon as possible, to ensure that your four-legged friend is in the best of health.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.