Is your dog barking too much? Has your pooch been lethargic lately? Or has your canine companion turned aggressive and wild?
Take heed as these may all be symptoms of canine stress.
Be on the Lookout
Dogs are considered to be a human’s best friend. People love to frolic and have fun with their furry friends. Most dog lovers treat them as part of their family. Individuals with special needs and health conditions even employ therapy dogs to help them deal with various issues.
While humans benefit from the stress relief their helpful hounds offer, you must also know that dogs can also feel stressed and anxious. There are instances wherein your dog can become agitated and frantic. Exposure to unfamiliar places, new people, noises, or even new smells can led them into a tizzy.
While some dogs exhibit excited behavior because well, they’re happy, others that are experiencing it for the first time can be stressed about it.
Here are some signs that your pup is getting stressed out:
1. Excessive Barking
You might think that this is an exaggeration or simply being overly reactive. Dogs would naturally bark, yes.
However, according to a study done in the United Kingdom to find out the indicators of stress and stress assessment in dogs, vocalizations were considered to be first among many behavioral stress indicators. Among the dogs observed, 60% displayed such activity, which may be brought on by chronic stress due to being kenneled for a long time.
Other causes of excessive barking may include:
- Separation anxiety
- Lack of exercise
When they continue to bark all the time especially when left alone, it is a possible sign of being distressed by separation. Signing your dog up for a behavioral management program may help; take your dog to the vet if you think your pet is going through this to address the problem.
To deal with barking because of frustration, confinement or lack of physical activity, make sure to do the following:
- Increase their personal space
- Give them a toy to play with
- Create an exercise program that you will both enjoy.
You might want to sit up and observe your pet pooch more closely if he is displaying the following:
- Extreme sluggishness
- Unusual exhaustion
- Increased sleeping
When you’ve been together for quite some time, you may already be familiar with your dog’s sleeping pattern. Dogs enjoy sleeping next to their owners or a person they like, as observed in research done on a shelter sleepover program that explores ways to reduce stress in dogs.
If your dog suddenly deviates from his sleeping habits and you notice that your doggie seems to be getting his 40 winks for an extended period, then it is best to consult your veterinarian.
When lethargic, your dog could be:
- Traumatized by something
- Displaying a sign of sickness such as diabetes, heart ailments, liver problems, diarrhea, severe dehydration, or poisoning, among others.
3. Loss of Appetite
Unlike people, dogs do not go on diets. Unless your vet recently suggested that your furry pal go on a special dietary plan, dogs that exhibit a sudden disinterest in eating can be a cause for concern.
If your four-legged friend suddenly stops eating or has decreased appetite, it could be a sign of anorexia or an underlying health condition. This cessation in food intake can lead to severe weight loss or even death.
Consult your veterinarian immediately so proper care and instruction can be given. Give your dog nutritious and delicious dog food after the vet gives the green light to do so. These dry and wet dog-approved foods can help them regain their health and energy.
4. Disproportionate Licking or Scratching
Dogs love to be scratched. You also see them lick themselves frequently either to clean themselves, for further grooming, or simply out of boredom.
While these are usually benign behaviors, excessive licking or scratching can be an indication that something is wrong.
If you’ve determined that no allergy or flea bites could have caused it, the behavior might be caused by stress-related situations like:
- Too much or too loud noise
- Separation anxiety
- Lack of activity or frustration about something
Your dog doing this might result in injury and infections. Here’s what you can do:
- Manage any skin problems with the help of your veterinarian and get a professional opinion on what to do as well
- Provide healthy opportunities for your dog to engage in physical activities that will enrich his dog hours
- Take your barking buddy for daily walks and make time to play together. Social interactions with familiar people can reduce and relieve stress in your dog’s life.
5. Aggressive Behavior
When your dog suddenly bares his canines, froths at the mouth with eyes flashing, and directs hostile growling at you, other people, or other animals, then you better dial your vet’s number fast.
This could be a sign that your dog is sick or extremely stressed. Consult a veterinary behaviorist to get to the bottom of the matter. Behavioral management techniques conducted by a professional can help in addressing your dog’s anxiety and anger issues.
Care for your precious pup by doing the following:
- Make sure to watch out for signs of anxiety. By doing so, you can prevent these from happening and save him from those fretful fits.
- Expand their territory.
- Give them enough exercise.
- Nourish them with high-quality treats.
- Special doggie toys can alleviate boredom, especially when you play together.
- Use an organic stress relief spray that will help calm nervous pups, especially during those trips to the vet or during bad weather. A soap-, paraben-, and sulfate-free spray like this can also make your dog’s coat shiny and fresh smelling.
Your beloved dog always gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling with his funny antics and playful demeanor. You should return the favor and shower your hairy hound the same respect, love, care and attention he deserves as well.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.