A stressful state can occur not only in humans but also in animals. Our pets are social creatures, they can also experience nervous tension. The reasons can be different: for example, an unexpected noise, a rude or harsh tone of the owner, and even an overabundance of communication with him can provoke stress in a dog. The pet’s body can cope with minor disorders on its own. However, the constant shake-up leads to chronic stress, which can lead to more serious illness. How to relieve stress in a dog?
Numerous studies have proven that dogs are prone to frequent stressful situations. They are very sensitive to the world around them. The body’s response to external stimuli is called the signal of reconciliation. These signals include licking or, for example, yawning. Small disturbances do not cause significant harm to the body. But severe stress in a dog can not only provoke physical illness (for example, dermatitis) but also cause behavioral disorders of the pet.
Signs of Stress
Scientists have identified a number of signs that indicate stress in a dog. Symptoms can be expressed in different ways, the reaction is very individual and depends on the characteristics of the pet:
Nervousness. The dog fusses, is nervous, cannot calm down;
Anxiety. The actions of the dog are repeated: it cannot sit still, walks from corner to corner, cannot relax even in its place;
Excessive barking, hyperactivity. Sudden attacks of barking, as well as overly active behavior of the pet, may indicate an increase in the level of stress hormones in his body.
Lethargy, apathy, refusal to eat. Depression, apathy, and lethargy are common signs of animal health problems.
Combing, pulling, licking to bald spots.
Disorders of the excretory system. Uncontrolled urination and diarrhea, a change in the color of feces can indicate not only diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, but also a stressful state of the body.
Increased salivation. It occurs quite often; although many breeds themselves are prone to increased salivation, this symptom should never be ignored.
Garbage collection. If the dog does not respond to the “No” command, tries to eat edible and inedible finds on the street, you should pay attention to its psychological state.
When a pet develops symptoms of stress, the first step is to establish the cause of its occurrence. But this is not always easy to do. For example, on a walk, your pet begins to behave restlessly around other dogs. Then the owner decides to limit this communication and brings the pet to an empty area. But even here he is unlikely to be able to completely relax: even the smells of other animals will stress the dog. In this case, treatment should begin with limiting trips to the site and the gradual socialization of the pet.
What are the Most Stressful Situations?
- Visiting a veterinarian;
- Haircut, bathing, combing;
- Public transport, car travel, air travel, and other travel;
- Celebration, noise, loud music, fireworks, and thunderclaps;
- Lack or overabundance of communication with the owner;
- Fighting with other dogs;
- Jealousy, the appearance of other animals or children in the house;
- Change of owner;
What to Do?
Eliminate the cause of stress
Of course, this applies to those situations where possible. But, for example, a move to a new house, a change of owner, or the appearance of a child in a family cannot be regulated in this way.
Work through fear with your pet
If the cause of the stress cannot be eliminated, it is necessary to work with the pet with this fear. For example, if your dog is afraid to travel by car, try to gradually train him to transport.
When moving to a new apartment, take with you a few things from the old house, including the dog’s things: toys and a house. The familiar smell will help your pet feel safe.
It is recommended to train your dog for grooming and bathing from childhood. If your pet is afraid of a typewriter, try scissoring to avoid stressful situations.
If your pet is under severe stress, you need to consult a dog handler or veterinarian. Do not delay visiting a specialist. An animal psychologist or dog handler can help overcome a stressful situation. For example, the fear of interacting with other animals or the fear of being in public places can be overcome by socializing with the pet.
Remember that in no case should you give your dog a sedative without consulting a specialist. Only a veterinarian will be able to prescribe treatment and prescribe the appropriate medication.