This week we have a guest post from Rohit Agarwal. 

There’s no denying the old saying: dogs are man’s best friend. Dogs are delightfully cheerful, easy to play with and loyal to you until the very end.

Unfortunately, man’s best friend is just as prone to stress as you are. But while you might be more equipped to handle your own emotions, your dog doesn’t. If your dog is stressed out and you don’t notice, your dog may end up acting out aggressively and even bite. It’s important to know how to identify stress in your dog, examine the reasons why your dog might be stressed out, and how to help your pup cope.

dog stress

Don’t ignore the warning signs of a stressed out dog

  1. Recognize the signs 

There are multiple signs your dog could be displaying to convey his stress. Some more common ones are of your dog acting distant or avoiding interaction. Another sign might be of your dog’s physical behavior: ears flat against his head, licking his nose, or even shaking. Your dog might also engage in excessive self-grooming: licking himself, scratching one area too much, which can increase in loss of fur. Whatever it may be, there are many different ways to notice stress in your dog.

  1. Assess the situation 

Figure out why your dog could be stressed. Some situations might be easier to understand; for example, you may have recently moved, and your dog is not used to the new place. Or perhaps you recently adopted your pup and the brand new owner, alongside the residence, is a little overwhelming.

At other times, it’s a little harder to deduce exactly what’s stressing your dog out. Perhaps he’s been locked up too long and needs some exercise. Or maybe he is uncomfortable around your child, who might not know how to interact with canines properly and gently. Your dog might still be uncomfortable after the trip to the vet and needs to readjust. Another possible reason is loud noises – from the vacuum to thunder to fireworks, these noises can be disturbing your dog and leaving him distraught.

  1. Prescribe solution 

Whatever your dog might be struggling with, understanding the potential reasons will help you get back on the right track to helping your dog calm down and prevent future incidents. Also understanding the reasons will help you understand what kind of solution will work best, since there is no one-size-fits-all solution for situations like this, and taking the time to help your dog costs very little in the long run. While there are countless methods to help soothe your stressed-out hound, we’re just going to focus on the two most basic and easy solutions to get you started.

  1. Touch 

A solution that helps is physical affection. Physical touch is powerful. If you or your family members might be acting too aggressively with your dog, give your dog some space. If your dog wants to retreat, let him rest. Then in all your physical interactions, be gentle. Something simple like a gentle pet for your dog will help calm him down. Gently hold and breathe with your dog. Speak with him calmly and stroke his fur softly. Showing your dog physical affection will help show your dog that you are a friend and not an enemy, and will help your dog handle the stress better.

  1. Healthy dog, happy dog 

While we as humans might crave cake and other sweets when we’re feeling stressed out, eating healthily and exercising regularly does us more good. The same goes for your dog. Feed him healthy food. Give your dog some exercise. Being cooped up doesn’t do much good for anyone, let alone a dog. Take your dog out for walks, but also try to help your dog meet other dogs, whether it’s through a local dog park or through friends who also have pets. Dogs are social creatures, and healthy interactions with other dogs is the best way to get your dog feeling comfortable again.

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