4 Leading Causes of Stress in Dogs and What You Can Do about It

causes of stress in dogs

Just because your puppy is your main valve that helps you keep stress at bay, it doesn’t mean they are never stressed out as well. We all know that spending time with animals has a positive effect on our mental well-being. But what happens when our pets are facing emotional strain?

Just like humans, dogs suffer from stress as well. And like with humans, stress in dogs can manifest in both psychological and physical ways. The difference is, dogs can’t tell us the cause of their trouble. That’s why it’s vital to know what some of the most common stress triggers are for puppies.

First things first: what are common stress symptoms

Stress in dogs can manifest in many different ways, which is why sometimes it’s not easy to recognize. Plenty of times owners confuse the physical symptoms with illness, when, in reality, the cause is their dog’s anxiety. You should always be assessing your pooch’s stress levels by comparing their present behavior with the way they usually act.

Pay attention to anything out of the ordinary. That could be excessive barking, howling, shedding, aggression, or destructive behavior. At times, stress can even cause physical illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. If your companion starts exhibiting any of these symptoms, try to look for patterns in their behavior. That could help you narrow down the possible triggers. If your dog is exhibiting serious physical symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, always take them to the vet to rule out other causes.

Moving your home

Just like moving your home is stressful for you, it’s the same for your furry friend. Unlike you, your dog doesn’t really comprehend the reason for the move. All they know is that they have suddenly changed territory. If you’re moving, make sure you bring lots of objects that are familiar to your dog, and be patient.

Changes in pack dynamics

Whether you’ve brought in a new puppy, or lost one of yours, it’s likely to reflect on your dog. Pack dynamics are complex, and every change disrupts the balance. Your dogs will figure this one out on their own, but you need to give them a bit of time.

Separation anxiety

Did you know that, just like kids, dogs can suffer from separation anxiety, too? If your puppy is sad, maybe they are just lonely. Do you spend a lot of time apart, and leave them home alone?

Dogs are used to living in packs, and being left alone for a good chunk of the day can have a negative effect on them. In fact, this is one of the most common stress triggers for puppies. If this is happening to your puppy, consider pet boarding as a way of alleviating their loneliness.

Inadequate punishment

Proper training can be a great thing for your dog. However, disciplining should never be harsh. Your dog should always know which one of their behaviors is being sanctioned. Also, be reasonable, and know that however smart, your dog is still a dog. They have some instincts that will always prevail. Don’t punish your puppy for listening to their instincts.

Don’t be too restrictive. Dogs need some freedom. They are not toys that you can turn off when you’re not in the mood to play. Be clear and firm in your commands, and avoid ambiguities.

If you notice your dog acting out or exhibiting any other symptoms of stress, don’t punish them for it. That is only likely to exacerbate the situation. Instead, try to be patient and loving, while you discover the triggers and are able to address the deeper problem at hand.

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