Stress is a reaction of the body to threatening events. It’s kind of a alarm response, prompting your body to either fight or flee. Stress can be very useful, it causes your body to take action in emergency situations.
But if your body remains in a state of readiness for too long and chronic stress occurs, your resistance decreases and you are no longer able to function properly. This also makes dogs more susceptible. Therefore, it’s important to know how to recognize stress in dogs and how to deal with it. Of course, every dog is different and therefore every dog deals with stress differently. That’s why it’s good to observe the stress signals that your animal might show.
Picking up stress signals
A dog's body often reacts with a number of standard responses to stress, or to situations in which it doesn’t exactly know what to do. Some examples:
- Dilated, large pupils
- Red eyes
- Brushing (the standing up of back and neck hairs)
- Being less sensitive to pain
- Loss of appetite
- Accelerated breathing (panting)
- Increased perspiration (wet paws)
- Higher heart rate
- Stronger startle and fear responses
- Scratching himself (without anything that’s itching)
- Tonguing (briefly showing a piece of the tongue)
- Lifting their paw
Some dogs suffer more from stress than others. This is partly due to genetic predisposition and experiences that the dog has had. When you learn to read the dog's signals, stress can be prevented in many situations. The most common causes of stress in dogs are:
What can you do about it?
It’s, of course, important to take away your dog's stress. We can seek distraction ourselves, but a dog needs help from you in doing so. First of all, you can solve the problems by addressing the problem areas. For example giving your dog more space, more exercise, more attention or toys to keep the dog busy. Keep him busy by playing or taking him for a walk. In addition, you can use stress-reducing diet foods, such as the Prins Resist foods. Our Prins Resist foods contain a blend of natural herbs that keep your dog calm, support the immune system and increase resistance. The unique Resist herbal blend is specially formulated for Prins to support dogs and cats during difficult periods. The herbs provide more oxygen in the blood, so that organs function better, and this provides more rest in the body of dogs and cats. The Resist foods also ensure an overall improvement in condition, as seen in a healthy, shiny coat and an optimal digestion.
The best thing to do is to take a good look at your dog - every dog is different! - and prevent long-term stress. For a dog it’s very important to have control over the situation and to know where they stand. Having control over the situation and predictability about what’s going to happen works enormously stress relieving. How simple can that be? By saying something to the dog like "just watch the house" when you leave, you make the situation predictable for your dog. He now knows that he’s not allowed to go with you and will feel less stress in the form of separation anxiety. So it all starts with investigating what causes your dog to show the stress signals, and looking for a solution.
Would you like to know more about dogs or follow an interesting training course on dog behavior? Take a look at www.martingausacademie.nl.