3 Major Signs Your Dog Is Stressed

Dogs are very stoic animals, so it can be difficult for us to notice when they’re going through a rough time. There are so many things that can cause stress in a dog’s life that it can be challenging to find out what they are. The first step, however, is identifying the stress in the first place. Dogs show stress differently than humans, but these three symptoms are major signs that your dog needs a little extra care.

#1 – Panting Excessively

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Image source: Melly Kay via Flickr

Some dogs pant more than others, but unless it’s particularly hot out your dog shouldn’t be panting excessively. Dogs that are stressed and anxious often pant even if they’re sitting in a nice air-conditioned room. Panting is a way that dogs relieve stress and lower their body temperatures, which are often raised in a trying situation. If you notice your dog is panting without prior exercise or high temperatures, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re not in any physical or emotional discomfort.

#2 – Eyes, Ears Tail

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This dog is very stressed – notice the ears pinned back, the whale eyes, the tight expression and the leaning backwards. Image source: Jen via Flickr.

These three are lumped together because they are often always displayed together. If your dog’s ears are pinned back, you can be sure that there is some stress being felt. If the whites of your dog’s eyes are showing, what most people call the whale eye, you’re looking at another sign of stress. A very stiffly raised tail or a tail tucked between the legs are both signs of stress. All of these signs together are a giant red flag that the dog in front of you is very uncomfortable and likely very scared. These signs of stress should not be ignored, but caution should be taken because dogs this upset are likely to bite out of fear.

#3 – Loss of Appetite

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Image source: Benny Lin via Flickr

Even the hungriest dogs will avoid food if they are stressed. Many people have unsuccessfully tried to coax a lost or stray dog with food. Most dogs, just like people, quickly lose their appetites in a stressful situation. If you notice your own dog has started not eating meals at home, it could be a sign of physical or emotional stress. Especially if your dog stops taking their favorite treats, you’ll want to consult a veterinarian to make sure nothing is going on.

When it comes to identifying stress in our dogs, we need to keep an eye out for signs like these. Stress can come from both physical illness and injury and environmental factors. Some dogs are more easily stressed than others, so it’s important to make sure you’re in tune to your individual pup. You might even find that what one of your dogs doesn’t even notice, the other completely falls apart over. There’s nothing wrong with this, it just means we need to be sensitive to our dog’s own unique needs and personalities. Most importantly, if you do find your dog is stressed in a situation, do your best to remove them from it. You are your dog’s advocate, so their comfort and stress level is dependent on you. Do everything you can to make sure your dog is feeling happy and safe.