Is your dog feeling anxious? Stressed? Worried? You may think he can’t tell you if he is, but he can – and he will. Your dog communicates his emotional state through body language and behavior. But, don’t forget that the signs of canine anxiety are often subtle.
It is important to notice the signs of stress in their early stages; this gives you an opportunity to remove your dog from a situation before his reaction escalates and becomes potentially aggressive or dangerous.
Here are four common signs of stress and anxiety in dogs to help you identify it and seek help quickly.
There are many reasons your dog may show avoidance, but a dog that is always isolating him or herself from other pets or people may be suffering from anxiety or a sickness. Tail tucked, avoiding eye contact, turning away — these are all ways your dog shows you he is uncomfortable. Your veterinarian can help you identify the cause of this strange behavior.
Decrease in appetite
Loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, skin problems or allergies can all be signs of stress in man’s best friend. If any of these physical symptoms don’t have a clear cause, stress should be your prime suspect.
Especially in the more aggressive breeds, dogs may try to alleviate stress by chewing or biting furniture or even by destructive biting or licking of his body. When your dog feels anxious, he may close his mouth tightly or pull his lips back in a tense grimace. Try to examine the circumstances that increase the behaviors, such as being left alone or when other animals are present.
Does your dog howl or bark a lot? Excessive barking, whether inside or outside the house, can be a sign of anxiety. Try and find a pattern to the barking to determine the cause of the anxiety, to see if it happens when you’re gone or maybe when are strangers at the door.
How to Help a Stressed Out Dog?
To differentiate stress signs from normal behavior, you must be familiar with your dog’s normal demeanor. Then you can tell if he’s licking his lips because he’s anxious or because he wants a treat. If your dog becomes constantly stressed, here are some tips for helping to alleviate anxiety in your pet:
Choose a high-quality dog food
Your dog’s diet is an integral part of his health and wellbeing. Providing your dog with a diet that is not properly balanced for his or her life stage and lifestyle may cause unforeseen repercussions that may lead to anxiety and stress. It’s not easy finding the best dog food for puppies or even grown dogs, but fortunately on the market are several brands with healthy food.
For example, Iams Proactive Health MiniChunks is a type of food recommended by many veterinarians. This is a great product and is made with quality products. I like that it contains omega-3 fatty acids and essential oils. These are things needed by every dog to sustain life. It’s got tons of great proteins (including eggs, which are super easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value). It’s amazing to see how my dogs prefer this food compared to others brands. It is better for their stomach and easier for them to digest. I recommend Iams MiniChunks because are are very good for our dogs.
I like that now we can get free samples from brands such as Iams, to verify if our dogs like this food. This is a great idea and you should take advantage of this promotion.
So, if you are curious and want to make your dog happy, here you have some free samples of Iams Proactive Health MiniChunks.
Play/exercise with your dog regularly
Exercise can be a great stress-reliever for your dog, as long as it’s kept fun and relaxing. Repetitive games of fetch at the dog park can actually cause stress in some dogs, so make sure you find the right balance.
Use essential oil of lavender
The essential oil of lavender has also been proven to reduce a dog’s stress response. I recommend placing a few drops on your dog’s collar or bedding before a stressor occurs, if possible, or diffuse the oil around your house for an overall calming effect.
If your dog exhibits ongoing signs of stress, make an appointment with your veterinarian. But, by working with your dog and setting clear boundaries, you can usually pinpoint the sources of his stress and work with him to help him live a less anxiety-ridden life.