Is your dog stressed?


Stress is a commonly used word that describes feelings of strain or pressure.

Our dogs can become stressed too. However, our dogs do not voice their feelings, slam down the phone, or have a tantrum, so how can we tell they are stressed?


Causes of Stress

  • The dog is under or over-stimulated
  • Too many demands, reprimands, failure and that they do not understand what their owner wants
  • Fights, conflicts, and involuntary isolation
  • Lack of control, fear, and anxiety
  • Not being able to relieve oneself, lack of food and water, sexual needs where drive and hormones come into play
  • Too much very high-intensity activation such as ball and stick throwing, agility and fast or tough games
  • Illness and pain
  • Sudden changes such as moving, having a child, new dog in the family


Symptoms of Stress

Panting, sleeping poorly, eyes wide open, bloodshot eyes, peeing/pooping a lot or upset stomach, increased thirst, dandruff or deterioration of coat quality. The dog may also empty the anal sacs, have tense muscles, decreased appetite and have sweaty foot pads. Self-injurious behaviors such as bites himself or licks himself incessantly. They may scratch unusually much and chase their tail. Yewing/riding people, objects or other dogs or has an intense chewing and bites furniture, is 99% a clear sign of stress.


How to help calm a stressed dog

Recognising whether your dog is stressed is the first step. The best way to calm your dog down is to identify what is stressing them, then eliminate the trigger.

Give your dog time away

Avoiding or removing your dog from a stressful situation will help, whether that’s outside or in your home. You could create a separate space away from excited children with a safety gate or create a homely bed or crate for them to relax where they won’t get disturbed.

Exercise your dog

Most dogs love their walks! Not only are they good for their physical health but walks will help your dog’s mental wellbeing too, having lots of things to sniff, look at and enjoy. Remember that you must keep your dog on a lead if you are walking near livestock.

Stay nice and calm

Many dogs are very sensitive to their owner’s emotions. If your dog is stressed, keep calm and try not to panic or raise your voice as this might add to your pet’s stress levels.

Keep your dog entertained

There are lots of things you can do inside your home to keep your dog entertained. This can help keep their mind focused and distracted from things they find stressful.


Don’t punish your dog, especially if they’re showing defensive behaviours as this is likely to make them even more stressed. Telling them off may mean they stop one behaviour, such as growling, but start biting or snapping instead.


When to see an animal behaviourist

If your dog is showing aggression or displaying any other problematic behaviours, talk to your vet and find a professional animal behaviourist to help. They will be able to help identify what’s causing the stress and give you advice on how to manage it.

Our dogs are sensitive to stress and feel stress when we do. By taking time to deepen into a yoga practice, you can help relieve anxiety, worry, and stress. In turn, your pet will sense this calm. Yoga is equally calming to pets as the poses help them relax.