5 Signs Your Dog is Stressed

Did you know that dogs can experience stress, too? If left unchecked, stress could lead to behavioural and physical problems in the long run. Here are some signs to watch out for!

We are far too familiar with the word, “stress”. But it may come as a surprise that dogs also experience stress. Their triggers may be different from the ones we face, but they do get stressed and also have to learn to cope. An inability to cope with stress further leads to many behavioural and physical problems in the long run. Dogs may develop aggression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, separation anxiety, and even phobias if they are not able to cope with their stress triggers. So it is extremely important, as pet owners, to understand the initial symptoms of stress.

1] Yawning

Something as common as yawning is one of the first stress indicators in dogs. Yes, dogs also yawn when they are bored and tired, but a prolonged yawn could be a sign of displacement of anxiety. A series of yawns usually means the dog is under some kind of stress and that must be looked into. Have you left him alone for too long? Or maybe he has been reprimanded? Assessing the possibilities is what you should do if you observe prolonged yawns!

2] Licking Lips and Panting

Ever noticed yourself breaking into a sweat when faced with something stressful? Believe it or not, dogs go through exactly the same! Stress results in a rise in body temperature, and so, dogs pant and lick their lips and nose as a cooling mechanism. If your dog is doing this, there’s a chance that a new person or another dog in the environment has made him uncomfortable.

3] Deflecting Eye Contact

Eye contact is a sign of confidence. When your dog is deflecting the same, she is anxious and doesn’t want to face the situation. If you have a pet dog, you will be familiar with the soulful moon eyes she makes at you when she has been naughty!

4] Scratching

Sometimes, when you are working with obedience and ask a dog to perform a certain task repetitively, you will notice that the dog ignores you and pretends that he suddenly has an uncontrollable itch! That is another coping mechanism for stress. It’s much like a child who delays homework by getting distracted by something irrelevant!

5] Ears Back, Tail Tucked

Fight or flight: before the fight mechanism kicks in, most dogs will first show signs of flight. Ears back, tail tucked between legs, and an attempt to slink away from the situation. This is a red flag of stress and usually, the trigger will be a fear of someone or something.

If your dog is showing you any of these signs regularly, it is a good idea to investigate and get the right help to help him overcome and find the right stress buster!

Tanya Kane

Tanya Kane

Jeevoka member since Jul 2019

Ever since I can remember, I have always loved dogs! What started as a learning journey during my teenage years moulded into a full-time job in adulthood. 12 years ago, I shunned my Master’s degree to set up The Pawsh and RESQ Charitable Trust and have since then never looked back. A trained Canine Behaviourist and Hydrotherapist, I am very passionate about inculcating responsible pet ownership and working on dogs that need a second chance at the RESQ Rehoming Centre. When I am not working with animals, you will find me championing the sustainable life — another cause very close to my heart!