Five signs of stress in your dog
We love our precious pups and hate to think of them feeling down but dogs are complex animals just like we humans are. Being tuned in to your dog is key and picking up on small changes in body language. Can you spot these 5 signs of stress in your dog?
1. Whining or barking
Barking is normal in dogs, until it becomes excessive or constant. Dogs who are stressed or anxious may whine or bark to get your attention or their barks or cries may be different or more intense than usual.
If your dog is barking or whining to try and get you to notice, it is always worth taking the time to investigate what could be upsetting them.
If you hear from neighbours that your dog is barking lots when you leave the house, they could be suffering from separation anxiety or need more enrichment or a doggy daycare, so that they can have company and be stimulated while you are gone.
It is always best to not leave your dog for too long, so do get in touch with us to discuss how we can help if this is the case.
2. Yawning, drooling and licking
Dogs of course yawn when they are tired, but did you also know that they yawn when bored or anxious too? A good way to spot if a yawn is down to stress, is if they yawn in unusual situations or if the yawn is much longer than usual.
A stress yawn can also be accompanied by licking their lips and drooling in general so keep an eye on all of these signs when displayed together.
3. Changes in the eyes and ears
Stressed dogs show stress and anxiety in their eyes just like we do. Watch out for your dog’s pupils becoming dilated or rapid blinking. If a dog’s eyes go much bigger and darker there is definitely something going on.
Alternatively, they may open their eyes really wide, looking shocked and showing much more of the whites of their eyes than normal.
When it comes to the ears, in a stressful situation or if your dog is feeling anxious or unsure, his or her ears will be pinned back against their head and will no longer have a relaxed or alert appearance. You can tell so much from your dog’s ears. It is a huge way of communicating, so keep your eyes on their ears!
4. Changes in body posture
Your dog will usually bear all of his or her weight on all four legs but a dog that is stressed, anxious or in fight or flight mode will shift their weight onto their back legs, or take on a cowering position.
Scared dogs may also go rigid, show their heckles or have their tail in between their legs. Watch out for these signs to read how your dog is feeling.
Remember, that our dogs will try to communicate with us as best they can, but it is up to us to be in tune with the small changes so we can help and support our lovely pets.
5. Avoidance or displacement behaviour
If your dog is faced with a situation that makes him or her feel uncomfortable, he may use displacement behaviour rather than reverting to the last resort of growling or threatening to nip or bite.
Look to see if your dog is using avoidance tactics when faced with meeting a new, dog, person or situation. Signs are licking genitals, sniffing at seemingly nothing or desperately trying to ignore someone or something by turning away.
Your dog isn’t being rude, he just feels uncomfortable in the situation so read his body language and the signs and you will have a much happier, carefree pup!