Stress in Dogs



Our pets can be very sensitive, and changes to behaviour or environment that may seem small to us may cause upset to them.

The signs of stress in our dogs can be incredibly subtle. Pheromone plug-ins can be useful for dogs, but it does depend on the root cause of their anxiety.

Major signs associated with stress in dogs include:

- Pacing or shaking – similar to when a dog shakes himself dry, we can see this happen in a stressed dog. Next time your dog is lifted down from the examination table at the vets, watch to see if they do a full body shake – this is an indication that he has been worried by being up on the table.

- Vocalisation – whining or barking. This can be normal for a dog to express themselves, however it is often worsened when placed in a worrying situation. It can be a warning to try to bring the situation to an end, or a way to self soothe.

- Yawning/drooling/lip licking – again, these can happen in normal life, but they are intensified when nervous.

- Changes in ear or eye position – dogs will often open their eyes really wide to show more white of their eye, and the ears may be pinned back against the head.

- Shifting weight, e.g. cowering/shuffling on hind legs or tail tucked under their bottom.

- Increased hair shedding

- Panting – often when hot, excited or stressed.

- Avoidance or displacement behaviour – to try to escape the worrying situation, they may sniff around them, lick themselves, or turn away.