Tips to Reduce Stress in Dogs

February 16, 2019
There are many causes of stress in dogs, and some of its side effects include changes in behavior, strange noises or different facial gestures. 

Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from stress and this can damage their physical and mental health. So, it’s very important that we know how to identify stress and how to help in this situation. Let’s find out how we can tell if a dog is stressed and what we should do to reduce his discomfort.

How to tell if a dog is stressed

A lot of people are skeptical about the idea that dogs can suffer from stress. That’s because they think dogs live comfortable lives and are constantly receiving affection. They don’t even have to think about eating or going out to relieve themselves since their owners meet all of their needs.

Although this seems plausible, the truth is that the crazy world we live in also seems to affect our pets’ health. 

Of course, stress is not a normal bodily occurrence, mood or behavior for our pet. That’s why it’s crucial that we watch for any changes in his behavior so we can detect any problems. The most common behaviors that show stress in dogs are:

  • Facial gestures. Although dogs can’t talk, they do use body language to tell us how they’re feeling. For example, his eyes, head, or ears may indicate that he’s in a stressful situation, either in specific moments or constantly. Licking, sniffing or turning his head, as well as always being submissive, could be unmistakable signs of stress in dogs.
  • Sounds. If your dog is whining or grunting, it may be a sign that he’s feeling stress. He may just make these sounds at particular moments due to a specific stressful situation. However, if he makes them repeatedly, it’s another unmistakable sign that there’s a greater problem at hand.
  • His behavior. For example, walking with his head down, shaking, or keeping his tail low or between his legs. These are all clear signs that something is wrong and that your pet needs help.
  • Hair loss, lack of appetite, destructive or obsessive behaviors, allergies, etc. are all signs of stress in dogs. 
A dog lying on the grass.

What can cause stress in dogs?

There are several reasons why dogs can feel stress, here are a few:

  • Moving. Dogs are routine animals. Therefore, they get used to doing the same thing on a daily basis and being in the same place, so when this changes they can feel stress. Although a move shouldn’t be a huge deal, it can affect our pets more than we think.
  • His owner. Everything we do has a positive or negative impact on our dogs. For example, if we’re stressed out, they get stressed out. Likewise, if we are aggressive or if we mistreat them, we’ll instill fear in them that will only turn into anxiety and stress.
  • Bringing other pets home. This could be another routine changer, and your dog may also see it as an invasion of his space.

How to reduce stress in dogs

Now that you know how to identify stress and what causes it, let’s see what we can do to help our pets.

Sad dog stares out the window.

Ease him into the new change in routine

Dogs get stressed out when they feel that something is out of control. So, if you have to change something in his routine, if you’re moving or if you’re bringing a new pet into the family, don’t do it all at once. Give him some time to get used to it by gradually bringing the new change into his life.

Give him a quiet space

The best way for your pet to cope with the new situation might be by separating himself from the family and the new pet. Give him a place where he’ll be able to relax and get away from the stress. If you bring a new pet into the home, it’s very important that each animal has his own space.

Play with him

This is the best way to stimulate his mind and reduce stress in dogs. Take a walk together, play fetch or even play some interactive games. 

However, if after you’ve tried all of these things, he’s still acting the same way, you should take your dog to the vet to get him the attention he needs.