If you’re a child of the 80’s then you might be familiar with the song Sometimes love just ain’t enough by Patti Symth featuring Don Henley from the Eagles. This could easily be the anthem for dog owners whose dogs are stressed!
We love our pets and most pet owners spoil them rotten, what could they possibly have to be stressed about? You may be interested to know that often our dog is stressed and we don’t even realise it. It’s not that we don’t care about our dog, we simply misinterpret the signs that our dog is giving us that it may be stressed.
Common indicators that your pet may be stressed
Barking is part of natural dog behaviour and they can bark for a variety of reasons. Often, barking is a reaction to danger, excitement and stimuli. If your dog appears to bark when there is no stimulus, or your neighbour informs you that you dog is barking incessantly when you are away, they may be stressed or anxious. There are a number of natural therapy products that may assist with separation anxiety barking, and the use of a pheromone product - Adaptil used in collars can also be successful. However, if neither of these methods assist, consult your vet
Panting and yawning
Most owners think that dogs only pant when they are hot as it helps them cool. It may also be an indicator of stress. If your pet appears to yawn around the same time that it is panting, this may be an indicator that it is stressed. Look for things that may be a cause for the stress. Often it can be when an older dog is exposed to new or an unfamiliar experience. Expose your dog to these situations slowly and with positive reinforcement or rewards.
Destruction of household items
Dog owners often forget that their pets were bred to carry out certain functions for us including running, guarding and working with livestock. Breeds with these strong behavioural drives often get frustrated and stressed if they do not have an outlet for it and this can lead to destructive behaviour. No matter how big your property is, every dog will benefit from the stimulus of a daily walk outside of the property. If you are unsure what your dog is up to during the day, consider installing a camera into your home that lets you monitor your dog’s behaviour. This will be good guide to what your dog is actually up to!
Paw licking and scratching
Many dogs lick their paws from time to time and scratch. Of course, it is important to rule out fleas, flea allergy dermatitis or allergies to grass or food. So if these behaviours continue and in the same area, they can be a habitual behaviour caused by stress and boredom. Dealing with this issue early is the most effective way of overcoming this behaviour. Try things to keep your dog occupied and busy, increasing the amount of enrichment with food toys is one way to counter this behaviour.
Most of us associate being cold with shaking and trembling, however, we should remember that it can also be an indicator of stress in our pet. Take note of situations that trigger this type of behaviour and slowly introduce your dog to them with support or consider using a natural therapy to treat your pet with when in these situations.
Being aware and being able to identify these symptoms can be help prevent anxiety related stress. Often, with your help, your dog can overcome this behaviour and together you can manage triggers and stressful situations. If your dogs behaviour does not improve, always consult your vet.
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