Jun 16 , 2021
Just like humans, dogs get stressed as well. Many factors cause dog stress such as loud noises and being left alone at home. If not handled properly, dog stress and tension can lead to more serious problems like depression and anxiety. As a fur parent, you want nothing but for your pooch to feel secure, loved, and positive all the time. That’s why you need to limit – if not totally eradicate – stressors that might lead to difficult problems in behavior.
Here is a guide for you to know more about dog stress, tension, or anxiety in dogs and how to handle them properly.
What Causes Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Dogs?
Stress, tension, and anxiety are major dog problems that every pet parent must address. To provide a solution for the problem, you first have to know what causes it.
Dogs have more sensitive hearing than humans. Loud noises due to construction work, firecrackers, and even sirens cause dogs to feel stressed out. These prolonged or repeated experiences can lead to noise phobia. Noise phobia occurs when dogs freak out or feel stressed even with noises that are not usually harmful.
Since dogs like routines, anything that is unusual to their habits may cause stress. Change in the environment such as a change of home, change of ownership, or visiting new places can make your dog feel anxious.
Shifts in Routine
Dogs thrive more and feel more confident when they know what to expect next. Sudden change in a pattern such as a change in schedule like coming home later than usual, or holidays ending and children going back to school can stress dogs a lot.
Leaving or Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a serious condition where dogs feel super stressed when left by their owners. This often happens when dogs are very closely attached to their owners. This can happen when he is left alone for the first time or loses a family member or perhaps a change of ownership. Previous experience such as being left at a shelter can also be a trigger.
New Addition to the Family
A new dog or a new baby in the house can cause stress to dogs as well. When the new arrival comes, most attention will be drawn to him. Giving your dog less attention than he normally gets prior to the new arrival will make your canine feel jealous, especially when he is really attached to family members. So you need to give your dog enough attention to lessen his feelings of jealousy.
Signs and Symptoms of Dog Stress
It is very important to recognize the signs and symptoms of dog stress and anxiety. A change in their usual behavior may not be that obvious, especially to new dog owners. That’s why we rounded up the most common signs and symptoms you may notice whenever dogs feel stress or anxious.
Growling or Sudden Aggression
Whenever a dog feels threatened, growling or sudden aggression becomes his first mode of defense. This action means that something within the vicinity is making him uncomfortable. When this happens, you need to remove your dog from the situation or remove the cause of his discomfort.
Excessive Barking or Whining
Barking and whining can mean that dogs are trying to communicate something. Most often, it means your dog is seeking your attention. But barking and whining could also be an indication that they are under stress or afraid of something. If your dog barks or whines more than usual to win your attention, then something is likely to be wrong.
Just like in humans, body language in dogs shows what they are feeling without “saying” it. Dogs tend to tuck their ears against their head or tails behind their hind legs to show that they are either anxious or stressed. Another sign of anxiety in dogs is when they show the whites of their eyes (whale eye).
When dogs are awaiting or excited about something, they tend to pace and show restlessness. However, in situations like your leaving for work or during trips to the vet, pacing becomes a sign of separation anxiety.
Dogs will find a way to relieve stress or tension. This may lead to the destruction of household furniture or objects due to excessive licking, digging, chewing and biting. Some dogs might even unintentionally urinate or defecate on unwanted spaces. These destructive behaviors usually show in dogs with separation anxiety when left alone at home.
What can I Do When My dogs are Stressed or Anxious?
Dog tension and stress are triggered by external factors. Although these factors can be avoided, there are certain situations that you and your dog can’t avoid. Dog stress is manageable if you know what to do.
Some helpful tips to avoid dog stress, tension and anxiety need to be practiced in long-term settings. However, once your dog becomes accustomed to these practices, you will see a significant difference in his behavior.
Leave Clothes with Your Smell
If separation anxiety causes stress to your dog, leave him used and unwashed clothes. Your smell on the shirt will keep your dog company while you’re away.
Dress Dog with Calming Clothes
Try using calming coats, compression wraps, or t-shirts wrapped around the dog’s torso. These things give mild and constant pressure on your dog’s torso. Using these things becomes very helpful whenever you are traveling with your pooch. It further helps in controlling your dog’s noise phobia whenever he hears loud noises.
Treat your dogs to a massage. Massages can be relaxing to dogs as much as it is to humans. Massaging your dog allows him to feel relaxed besides improving his blood circulation. All dogs benefit from massage, especially those who experience stress and anxiety symptoms often.
Distract with Toys
There is no better distraction than toys. Toys keep your dog occupied so that he won’t even have time to think about the stressful and anxious situation that he’s currently in.
Avoid the Triggers
When already determined, removing external factors is one of the most obvious ways to relieve dog stress, tension and anxiety in dogs. This can be as easy as keeping dogs away from the source of noise or limiting unnecessary travels.
Exercise and Healthy Foods
Just like in humans, exercise is a great stress reliever for dogs. Regular exercise helps dogs release their excess energy. It also helps reduce dog separation anxiety and aggression. Having a healthy diet also gives dogs enough nutrition to boost their mental stability.
Communication between the owner and their dogs goes a long way in reducing stress. Giving dogs training, such as alone training, can help reduce separation anxiety. Training your dog to modify a behavior helps greatly whenever stressful situations occur. If you do not know how to train your dog, you can always seek professional help.
A dog-parent relationship needs to have warm cuddles, affectionate hugs and sweet petting. It makes the bond between you and your dog stronger. It further soothes and helps your dog in times of stress.
Do Calming Supplements Work for Dogs?
There are a lot of calming products available in the market. But how helpful are these products in dealing with dog stress and anxiety? With the numerous products sold in the market, you need to be mindful of the supplements you give to your dog. Make sure that the ingredients contained within the supplements you give will provide them with more benefits than harm.
A calming supplement helps dogs as long as you get a supplement with the right ingredients.
Passionflower and chamomile have calming effects and aids in anxiety. These herbs further help maintain a balanced behavior in your dog. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that aids dogs who are under stress due to arthritic pain.
Amino acids, such as L-theanine and L-tryptophan, also help in reducing the stress response and further promote relaxation. Moreover, L-tryptophan has the properties of a natural antidepressant.
Another remarkable ingredient is hemp oil. It is taken from hemp seed oil or the whole hemp plant, which is also a natural anti-inflammatory, and helps relieve pain. Hemp oil aids in symptoms of separation anxiety, reduces stress and has a calming effect.
How to Deal with Dog Behavioral Issues and Hyperactivity Concerns?
Aside from stress and anxiety, hyperactivity is also a common concern among dog lovers. Hyperactivity in dogs takes a lot of effort to control. Usually, boredom or lack of stimulation causes this behavior. Common signs of dog hyperactivity include impulsiveness, easily getting distracted, making lots of movements and the inability for him to pay attention.
Behavioral issues such as too much digging, chewing, and begging for attention are also related to hyperactivity.
Teaching practical skills, giving the dog a job and daily exercise are some of the ways to manage hyperactivity in dogs. In addition, the calming effects of ingredients found in supplements used to calm stressed and anxious dogs work similarly on hyperactive dogs.
Aromas of herbs such as ginger and chamomile have calming properties that help with dog restlessness. Hemp oil can calm and relax the body so it helps dogs have better and sounder sleep. A better sleep keeps your dog healthier and can help him maintain a sharper mind.
Dogs, just like humans, can go under different kinds of negative experiences, including stress and tension. When not treated early or properly, stress and tension can lead to anxiety disorders in dogs that may be harder to control. So, it’s imperative to address the different factors that may cause your dog’s stress. Since many external factors can stimulate this unwanted anxiety, knowing your dog better will help address this problem.
Calmness Chews are good and natural ways to help dogs deal with stress and hyperactivity. Our Chews provide a sense of relaxation and calmness to your pooch whenever he feels stress or hyperactive. However, you don't have to worry about your dog getting drowsy after having Calmness Chews.
Contrary to human anti-anxiety supplements, Calmness Chews are a non-drowsy solution to your dog’s stress dilemma.
Dogs can act as stress relievers for humans, but we should also keep in mind that they may feel the same kind of stress we are experiencing. It is a give-and-take process. A healthier, stress-free dog not only keeps you company, but also shoos your own stress away.