We all live in a world of stress and nowadays more ills are caused from stress related disorders than ever before, yet still it goes unrecognised that domestic dog suffers stress as well.

Many owners fail to recognise classic stress symptoms in their dog, believing instead that they just have a difficult, badly behaved, stupid or disobedient dog.  Only when the stress is reduced in the dogs life will they see a different dog.

Many of the reasons why dog’s get stressed is completely ignored by many an owner.  They imagine that the kind of life that they impose on their dog is one that he would choose for himself if he could. Nothing could be further from the truth – confinement, suppressed natural behaviours and instincts like chasing, herding, digging, barking,

socialising to mention just a few.  Made even worse by the owner that wants the dog to bark, for example under certain situations, but not for others and expects the dog to automatically know these rules!

We cannot remove all the stress from our dog’s lives, anymore than we can from our own or our families, but what we can do is learn more about how to recognise the symptoms in our canine friends and the different factors that cause it.  These can be many and breed species can vary, some breeds that are quite sensitive and highly strung, like the German Shepherd or Border Collie, can be seen to suffer more acutely.

To be in better tune with our dogs we need to realise why these stresses occur and if possible can we do anything to help them?  Domestic upheaval, changes in the pack hierarchy, being hungry or thirsty, physical discomfort or pain, lack of physical or mental stimulation, aggression from owners or other dogs, not being able to toilet when he needs to, confinement, separation, loud noises and far to many restrictions and negative commands can all be factors.

Some of the signs of stress in dogs are:

  • panting, whining, barking for no apparent reason.
  • Shaking or shivering
  • Seem hyperactive or restless
  • Glazed eyes
  • Seemingly naughty and unable to concentrate on training commands
  • Be defensive or destructive
  • Tail chasing or rolling over in a bid to displace anxiety
  • Bad coat condition, itchy skin, diarrhea
  • Lose of weight or appetite