Stress is a normal part of life for everyone, including your dog. Sometimes stress is a good thing. It warns you and your dog of danger. But stress can do more harm than good when it is warning your dog of danger that isn’t there. It’s exhausting and takes a toll on your dog’s mental health. Your dog is your perfectly loyal friend, and they’ve helped you through your stressful times. It’s time to know how to best help your dog when they are dealing with stress.
Why Do Dogs Get Stressed?
What are some reasons you get stressed? New job? Uncertainty? Doctor’s appointment? Some of what can cause us stress is related to what causes stress in dogs. If there is an element of uncertainty, anticipation for a dreaded event, or simply confusion, this can cause dogs stress. According to Michelson Found Animals, dogs can even get stressed if you’re stressed out.
Consider this: if your dog gets separated from people they know and taken to a new place, they do not know what is going on. This is stressful. If your dog realizes they are being taken to the groomers or a veterinarian’s office, they have the anticipation of an unpleasant experience they’ve had before without really knowing why. Because they can’t communicate with you, there is no way for them to reason it out. If they are sick or getting older, their confusion, stress, and anxiety can increase even more.
Making sure your dog is healthy can do wonders for their stress. Besides the necessities of exercise, proper sleep, and proper feeding habits, one way to help your dog be healthy is by using supplements. If your dog doesn’t have the ideal diet, it might stress them out to switch diets. However, with supplements, you may not have to change their diet. This can also leave you with the peace of mind that your dog is getting the nutrients that they need. Consider different ways to supplement your dog’s diet, and speak with the veterinarian about options for your pet. There are even supplements available specifically made to help stressed pets, like CBD. According to Hemmfy, CBD benefits pets in a similar way that it does for humans.
Watch for Signs of Stress
Stress is inevitable, but you cannot help your dog with their stress if you cannot tell that they’re stressed. According to K9 of Mine, it’s a good idea to learn what your dog’s signals for stress are. Watch them as they interact with new people, dogs, and places. Also watch what happens when something startles them.
Though there are many reactions to stress that your dog may have, here are some signs to look out for:
- Increased heart rate
- Unusual body position
- Flattened ears
- Sudden aggression
Communicate With Your Dog
If your dog has a way to communicate with you, this will reduce their stress. It’s part of what you do as you potty-train your puppy. They know your expectations as an owner is that they don’t use the restroom in the house, and they know how to tell you that they need to be let out. This takes away some uncertainty.
According to Preventive Vet, training and giving clear commands are essential to communicating with your dog and reducing their stress. This reduces the unknown in one field—their relationship with you. When you give them clear commands, they know what you expect of them and that they will be safe. Consider working with a trainer to help you and your dog communicate better. Even with this low level of communication, your dog can apply it to other situations.
Ultimately, reducing the stress of your dog includes taking the best care you can of yourself and your dog. Show love in all the ways you can, and keep finding the best ways to care for them. They already love you, so show them you care.
Playing outside is a great way for your dog to relieve some stress. Try the Tether Tug for some great, outdoor fun for your dog!