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Just like humans, dogs get stressed. Your pup may be a great comfort to you, particularly in times of stress. So when Fido gets stressed, he needs your help too.
Here are some of the signs of stress in dogs, and what to do about it.
If dogs could talk, they might be able to say, “I’m in pain,” or “I’m scared.” Instead, we have to read their queues and body language.
Sometimes pain is obvious: a limp or a whimper in an otherwise happy pup. Sometimes, though, even physical pain is hard to identify, not to mention emotional distress, anxiety or other stressed-out feelings our beloved furbaby may be experiencing.
Since they can’t talk with words, we gathered some expert data on what our dogs are trying to tell us.
A sudden change in behavior may indicate pain. Sometimes a stressed dog is a dog with a physical ailment flaring up. Here are some of the signs of physical distress in dogs:
What to do about it: Sudden onset of any of these behaviors means you should call your veterinarian. They can help you identify and treat pain.
If you’ve eliminated physical pain as a possibility, your stressed dog may be experiencing fear or anxiety.
A scared dog will generally be reacting to an environmental trigger, such as:
Many of the symptoms your dog may experience when fearful look similar to pain, such as trembling, hiding or whimpering. A stressed dog may also lash out and want to bite, so it’s very important to be careful with your dog when he is stressed. Even a normally sweet fur baby may unintentionally harm a family member in a time of pain or distress.
Some dogs experience chronic anxiety, or many different things stress them out. Such dogs will generally exhibit lots of signs of stress on a regular basis, such as getting distressed (even car sick) about every car ride, experiencing separation anxiety, etc.
In fact, there are 7 main forms of anxiety in dogs, including:
A chronically stressed dog may experience one or more of the forms of anxiety on this list. These types of anxiety often require a proactive, combined approach.
If your dog experiences any of the forms of stress or anxiety from this list, even if temporarily, you should address it. There are three steps: identify, handle and prevent.
If at all possible, you want to identify what is stressing out your dog. If you are uncertain, or if it is more than one stressor, you can make a list of likely items, then try to handle one at a time. In such a case, it might take a little trial-and-error.
But if you can identify what is stressing your dog, you can rapidly handle the situation.
If you have a suspected source of stress, you want to eliminate it. For example, if your dog gets stressed around a certain person, meet that person somewhere safe (like a park) instead of at home, where your dog’s protective instincts are strongest.
Sometimes you just have to cover up the stressor. For example, a dog stressed by loud noises might need soothing classical music on the 4th of July.
Once you find what works to calm your dog, take steps to prevent the stress triggers in the future. You can also use a counterconditioning, desentization therapy to help your dog handle stress in the future. This technique works particularly well for unavoidable triggers, such as car rides or separation.
Whatever is stressing your dog, CBD can help. CBD helps restore a natural sense of calm for your beloved fur baby.
Check out our calming CBD tincture, which can be given at moments of stress, or as an ongoing destressing therapy.