There’s stress all around us. Whether work, school, health, family or financial, there’s no way to avoid it.
Stress affects not only us but our four-legged family members. We understand how it makes us feel, so we certainly want to help alleviate our pet’s stress.
Some signs of their stress and anxiety are subtle and some are very obvious, so knowing the signs to look for is the first step to helping them. Some signs to look for:
Barking or whining: While these are normal ways of expressing themselves, it may also be a sign they are tense or afraid of something. They may be trying to get your attention to let you know about something, or they’re trying to make themselves feel better.
Increased yawning: While dogs do yawn when they are bored or tired, they also yawn when they are stressed. The stressed yawn is longer and more frequent, so keep an eye out on this sign.
Shedding, shaking, pacing: Have you noticed how much more your dog sheds when taking them to your vet’s office? This is another sign of feeling anxious or stressed. While it’s often normal that your dog may do the full body shake after rolling around in the grass or a bath, it could also be because of a situation that has made them feel stressed.
Panting for no reason: It’s normal for a dog to pant after a nice long walk or hike, when they are excited about something or when it’s hot outside. But if none of that applies, this is another sign of stress or anxiety.
Tucked tail, pinned back ears, change in eyes: When scared or stressed, dogs often tuck their tails and pin back their ears. Often their pupils might be slightly more dilated, or they open their eyes wider, showing more of the white.
So, how can we help them to handle the stress?
Remove them from the stressful situation and give them some comfort to help calm them down.Don’t overly comfort them, as you don’t want to justify their fears making their reaction the norm.
Give them some mental stimulation to get their mind off whatever it is that’s bothering them.
Create a safe space for them with their bed, blanket or favorite toy so they can escape to that place and relax.
Play some calming background music to help them relax. I leave music on all day while I’m at work for my pets, and I do think it helps them stay more relaxed.
Take your pup out for a walk; it’s a win-win for both of you!
Lastly, remember that dogs sense our emotions so try to stay calm and relaxed around them. If you’re stressed out, why not sit down with your dog and talk to it, while you pet it? You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll both feel.