Is your pet feeling stressed? How do you know? The telltale signs are all around, and if you’re observant enough, they’re not hard to spot. But what should you do if you notice your pet acting differently? What’s causing that behavior? How can you fix it, so your furry friend is happy and healthy again?
In this article, we will cover many of the stress signs your dog may display, what may be causing the change in behavior, and how to correct it so your fur babies are as happy and healthy as can be.
If you follow all of the steps in this article unsuccessfully and your pup displays continued signs of stress and anxiety, there are things like CBD white label pet chews that can help your dog naturally calm down. But before jumping to bandaid fixes like that one, go through this article and see if you can stop the stress at the cause.
Look for Behavioral Changes
Our pets can be a source of stress relief and comfort for us. Whether we’re feeling sad, anxious, or simply alone, our pet is always there to greet us with unconditional love and affection. However, whether we’re aware of it or not, our stress can spill onto our pets and cause them to behave differently.
If your pet is acting strange and displaying signs of stress, start by looking inward to see if their behavior stems from you. Are you going through a rough patch at work, friend or family tiffs, anxiety about student loans, a home re-fi? If your stress has been affecting the way you interact with your pet, start by changing your behavior to help your dog start acting like themselves again!
If you haven’t changed the way you’re interacting with your pup, and they’re still displaying different behavior, take a note of what they’re doing. They might be hiding more than usual or seeking out solitude in a new way, such as cowering under the bed instead of cuddling up on your lap. They may have developed a fear of certain things that didn’t bother them before– maybe going outside or being near people. It’s also possible that their appetite has changed for the worse. Is this something they’ve always done when they were scared? If so, then this is likely another sign of stress.
While there are a lot of signs that could lead you to know if your pets are stressed or not, you must use your intuition and what you know about your specific pet to determine if they are displaying signs of stress or not. Before jumping to any conclusions, try to get them out of their funk with their favorite toys, treats, and park visits. If none of those things help to restore normal behavior, it’s time to determine the root cause of their behavior.
Finding Root Causes
Dogs are creatures of habit and they like to know what is going on around them. When something new or unknown happens, it can cause them a great deal of stress. This may be due to changes in their environment, such as moving to a new home or meeting new people or animals. It can also be caused by changes in routine, such as being left alone for long periods of time, having their food or water changed, or being groomed. When your dog starts demonstrating strange behavior, start by thinking about its routines and if there have been any recent changes to them.
If you find simple routines have been altered recently, either give your puppy some time to adjust to their new routines or switch them back to the previous routines that they were happy with.
Breed Specific Activities & Needs
If simply switching routines or allowing time for the new routines to become normalized doesn’t solve your pet’s behavioral changes, it’s time to take a deeper look into their behavior. Are you acting differently towards them? If not, it might be a good idea to do some research on your dog’s breed to find out what they require in terms of exercise, mental stimulation, and socializing. Many breeds require a lot of mental stimulation or exercise and if your dog is missing out on the stimulation they need, it can lead to changes in behavior and signs of stress and anxiety.
Dog Purpose & Jobs
Another thing to note is that dogs are like humans, they need a purpose. If they don’t have a purpose, whether it’s as simple as sitting on your lap while watching tv, waiting for a command before eating food, or more complex like fetching toys or performing a specific task, dogs need a purpose. If your dog doesn’t currently have a purpose, consider adding more commands and more strict rules. While it sounds counterintuitive, it will give your dog more purpose and help them feel more fulfilled.
Dogs can feel stressed for many reasons, including changes in routine, loud noises, and being left alone. While there are many possible solutions, some may work better than others for your specific dog. If your dog seems to be particularly stressed and you have already followed all of the above tips, you may want to consider working with a professional animal behaviorist or trainer. They can help you identify the sources of your dog’s stress and recommend specific solutions tailored to your pet’s needs. Dog trainers know how to read your pet’s signs and behavior and can help you determine how to find a solution to their behavioral changes.
Hiring a dog trainer isn’t the only solution. Some other possible solutions include:
Providing your dog with a safe place to hide or relax
Dogs need a den and a safe place to call home. When regular environments and stimuli become overpowering, they need to have a place where they can feel comfortable amidst the chaos.
Training your dogs beyond basic commands such as “sit” and “stay”
When dogs have a purpose and are required to follow commands throughout the day, they feel much more fulfilled. They feel like they are serving a purpose in your home and they feel accomplished when they successfully perform an action based on a command. More training leads to happier dogs.
Playing games that keep them mentally stimulated
Dogs, like humans, need to be mentally stimulated. They need to learn new things and solve problems. Some dogs have a larger need for this than others. Based on your dog’s breed, make sure they have mentally stimulating toys, treats, and games to keep them happy and healthy. Just no tug-o-war between people and pets. Between pets only.
Ensuring they get plenty of exercises
While many of these recommendations are breed-specific, exercise is something that all dogs need. Make sure that you know what your dog can handle and what your dog requires, and then keep the exercise as regular as you can. The more regularly they receive exercise, the happier they will be.
If you’ve gone through everything in this article and you’re feeling lost and stuck because your fur baby is still showing signs of anxiety and stress, it may be time to consult your veterinarian or a Dog trainer. However, other at-home solutions include CBD dog treats, weighted dog clothes, chew toys, etc.
Dogs can feel stressed for many reasons, including changes in routine, loud noises, being left alone, etc. While there are many possible solutions, some may work better than others for your specific dog. If your dog seems to be particularly stressed and you have already followed all of the above tips, you may want to consider working with a professional animal behaviorist or trainer. They can help you identify the sources of your dog’s stress and recommend specific solutions tailored to your pet’s needs. Dog trainers know how to read your pet’s signs and behavior and can help you determine how to find a solution to their behavioral changes.
photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/udxdPxWpMSs
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