Identifying stress in dogs can be complicated for many dog parents because they don’t know their pets can experience stress in the first place.
You may be wondering, “How can my dog get stressed if they don’t have any responsibilities?” Although your pooch doesn’t go to work or pay bills, many factors that don’t bother humans can aggravate them. In today’s blog, we’re discussing common situations that can overwhelm your dog and providing you with resources to help calm them down.
Real-Life Situations that Can Cause Stress in Dogs
Loud noises: Many dog owners forget that a dog’s hearing is better than a human’s, so a loud sound that’s only annoying to you may be anxiety-inducing to them. For example, you may notice your fur baby hiding on top of your washing machine during Fourth of July; that’s because fireworks are their worst nightmare. In situations like these, it’s best to stay home with your dog to keep them company.
Leaving your dog at home alone: Although you never want to leave your best friend’s side, there are several reasons why you have to leave your dog at home for an extended period. Getting a new job, returning home from the hospital after childbirth or an accident, going on a shopping spree, or treating yourself to a weekend get-away are some of the many reasons why your dog may have to spend a day or two alone.
Sadly, some pooches struggle with separation anxiety. While they may pout or whine when you leave on a quick grocery trip, those with separation anxiety may engage in the following destructive behaviors:
- Tearing up their surroundings, such as pillows or couches
- Not using the bathroom where they normally use it
- Injuring themselves while attempting to escape
Socializing your dog: As a dog parent, you’re probably familiar with the phrase, “dogs are a man’s best friend.” However, not every dog is fond of social interaction, particularly outside of their home. Unfortunately, some of them carry trauma from past hostile living situations, or they weren’t ever socialized as young puppies. If your dog isn’t a social buttery, they may need time to warm up to new people.
So, how do you handle a socially anxious dog? You should take things slowly and never force them to interact with people if they don’t want to; this includes your loved ones and strangers at the park alike. Remember to give them plenty of time and space so that they can grow comfortable when they meet new people.
Identifying Stress in Dogs
The American Kennel Club states that there are several signs that your dog may display if they’re stressed out, including:
- Sudden aggression
- Destroying your belongings
- Repetitive behaviors
- Restlessness or pacing
- Frequent panting
It’s important to note that many of these behaviors can easily be confused with backslides in training. If your dog begins to exhibit abnormal behaviors that you suspect are stress-related, you should consider their unique personality and the situation you think is provoking them. Avoid scolding your pet because if their strange behavior is stress-related, they’ll become overwhelmed and agitated if you reprimand them.
Best Ways to Relieve Stress in Dogs
1. Find out Why They’re Stressed
The first step to helping an anxious dog is identifying their stressors. Many dogs become stressed when they’re surrounded by strangers, feel boxed in, are in an unfamiliar place, or are separated from their owner. Observe them carefully to pinpoint their triggers or enlist the help of your dog’s veterinarian.
2. Remove Them Away from the Stressor
Once you find out what’s upsetting your dog, you need to create physical distance between them and the stressor, if possible. Never force your dog to be friendly if they’re not showing interest. Making them spend time with a pup or human they don’t know may end up angering them, causing them to exhibit aggressive behavior they otherwise may not show.
3. Create a Safe Space
As a dog owner, your home should generally be a calm environment. If your dog notices strained relationships in the house or that residents speak with aggressive tones, they may become stressed or sad. Although they don’t understand our language, they can certainly tell when there’s an argument. We recommend providing them with a crate or shelter located in a safe space where your dog can retreat if they grow anxious, such as a closet, spare bedroom, or even under a bed.
4. Tap into Nature
Humans can never go wrong with going on a walk to relieve stress immediately, and the same applies to dogs. Although humans and dogs don’t share the same problems, they can experience the same emotions. Taking a walk can produce endorphins, the chemicals that produce feelings of euphoria and calmness, for pets and humans alike.
5. Massage Your Pup
We’re not suggesting splurging on an expensive dog spa, but you can’t underestimate the wonders of petting a nervous dog. After all, they love being touched on their chest, head, and back. Massaging your fur baby using a soothing voice can help them relax. Afterward, give them praise if they remain calm.
6. Go on Car Rides
It’s no secret that babies love car rides, and your fur baby is no exception. Most dogs are capable of enjoying a short car ride; unfortunately, your pup may associate your car with trips to the veterinarian, making them nervous. It’s crucial to take your dog on trips outside of going to the vet because car rides offer countless opportunities for visual stimulation. Moreover, going on car rides allows them to access a plethora of smells they can’t pick up at home, and you know how much dogs love smells—good and bad.
Let Your Dog Ride in Luxury with Plush Paws Products
Decreasing stress in dogs can be easy by just spending time with them. What better way to spend quality time with your fur baby than driving them to the dog park?
At Plush Paws Products, we believe that your dog deserves to ride in comfort. Browse our premium collection of velvet pet seat covers for your next trip.