STRESS IN DOGS | SIGNS AND MANAGEMENT

Have you ever felt like your pet is behaving abnormally? Refusing to eat, to play, and many times doesn’t even respond. What could be the reason behind showing this kind of behavior? This is undoubtedly a sign of stress. Like we human beings, animals also undergo stress. They may go through several sorts of stress like emotional stress, physiological stress, social stress, travelling stress, etc. As a pet parent, it becomes important to know the factors causing stress in dogs.

Signs of stress in dogs

  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Licking
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Biting
  • Vocalization
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dilated pupils and wide opened eyes
  • Shedding
  • Hiding behind the owner
signs of stress in dogs

Types of stress in dogs

Emotional Stress

There can be many reasons for emotional stress to emerge in dogs. For example, separating a bitch from her puppies. As a mother, this can make her feel very insecure about the little ones’ well-being. She might get anxious to know her puppies’ whereabouts and consequently may refuse to eat anything. This is the most common reason behind emotional stress.

Other reasons can be – separation from the owner, or the owner not treating the way he used to do earlier. Thus, anything to which the animal is attached emotionally could become a stimulus for the stress of losing it.

Social Stress

This kind of stress may arise from the presence of unfamiliar people or animals. When a dog faces strangers, a feeling of fear develops in his mind. This often happens when it encounters a pack of unknown dogs. You must have observed that your dog starts barking at them even if they are not harming you or your dog. On the other hand, if your dog feels that the stranger is dominating, then it tries to escape behind you. It shows its bravery according to the situation and the surrounding, whether it is capable to dominate over others or not. The fear of being surrounded by strangers leads to social stress in dogs.

Physiological Stress

Any alteration from the normal body physiology results in physiological stress in dogs. This may arise from any trauma, surgery, or vaccination. These are the conditions when there is a remarkable increase in the activity of certain hormones and immunoglobulins. Pets can also face this condition when they are starving, frightened, or in extreme weather (too much hot or cold).

Other reasons include nutritional/metabolic disorders or any bacterial or viral diseases. Certain ectoparasites like ticks, fleas, and mites and endoparasites like intestinal roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and pinworms are likely to give stress to your furry buddy physiologically.

Stress due to travelling

For a responsible pet parent, this is one of the major topics to concern about. You must have observed that during traveling your dog starts salivating, vomiting, panting, licking his mouth, urinating, or trying to gain your attention. Dogs can’t sense where they are being taken to. Not only dogs, every animal feels uncomfortable when taken to unknown surroundings. Your dog may not be able to synchronize with the motion of your car and hence usually vomits during travel. This is so common in human beings too. Traveling makes your dog a bit nervous and restless which results in causing traveling stress in dogs. Traveling stress is well marked by drooling when the journey is too long.

how does the Dog’s body respond to Stress

When the dog comes under stress, there’s a remarkable increase in heart rate and breathing rate. The digestive system becomes inactive (which may result in an upset stomach) and the liver releases glucose for energy. Rapid secretion of adrenaline (a flight or fright hormone) and cortisol (the stress hormone) occurs inside the animal body in response to stress. Prolonged secretion of cortisol may lead to many health problems such as muscle weakness, rapid weight gain, diabetes, osteoporosis, skin bruises, etc., and also makes the immune system weak.

Despite the fact that the dog’s body already has specific hormones to tackle and overcome many of the stressful situations, the excess of it may prove to be harmful. So, it becomes very essential to avoid any kind of stress in dogs.

Tips to manage stress in dogs

  • Try to spend quality time – Pamper your pet regularly and show enough affection by spending time with it. It is the best way to relieve the stress in dogs.
  • Massage – Pets enjoy the warmth of your hands whenever you touch them with love. Giving a good massage would surely work to tackle the stress.
  • Exercise and play – Dogs need to perform some daily physical activities to ensure proper activeness and good health. Playing with your dog can help reduce its stress level to a great extent.
  • Music – Music therapy is the simplest way to calm your dog mentally. Use sober and soothing music for your dog.
  • Time-out – Take your furry friend out for a walk or running for at least two times a day.
  • Calming coats – Putting a soft calming coat on your dog is a good way to relieve the anxiety.
  • Cool water – Cool water can help relieving stress in dogs. If your dog is panting continuously, give him plenty of cool water to drink. It’s very important to pay attention to its hydration especially in summers.
  • Deworming – Puppies are most likely to have worms as internal parasites. These worms need to be killed and removed with the help of certain anthelmintic drugs. You can ask your vet how frequent your dog requires deworming since its schedule completely depends on the dog’s lifestyle.
  • Hygiene – Hygiene undoubtedly plays a significant role in avoiding many stress factors like ticks and mites or excess sweat. Moreover, a neat and clean dog seems healthier and happier than the untidy ones.
  • Be polite – Your pet’s mood somehow depends on your own mood. If you live with aggression or anxiety, it will definitely reflect on your dog’s behavior. So, it’s necessary to keep yourself calm and polite at least when you are with your pooch.
  • Visit a vet – In some cases, medication is required to treat the stress in dogs. Your vet would prescribe certain stress relieving drugs for your pet.
tips to manage stress in dogs

We all by nature, are capable to fight with and overcome any kind of anxiety on our own. Still, there could be many circumstances when it becomes difficult to help it alone. In such cases, we seek help from our parents and buddies. Likewise in case of pet animals, they only need care and support from your side since you are the only friend they have. Your dedication towards your pet can cure any of its anxieties to a great extent.

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