Stress occurs in our daily lives, so why should it not affect our dogs? Dogs are prone to stress, especially if they have had a history of mistreatment by others. Other causes of stress are inconsistent expectations of the owner or the specific breed of dog itself. Border Collies, Great Danes, and German Shepards are examples of dogs that are more prone to neurotic or stressful tendencies.
There are definite signs to be recognized in your pet to detect stress. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Loss or weight or refusal to eat
- Shaking or shivering
- Restless or hyperactive behavior
- Destructive behavior
- Unable to focus on commands or inability to perform learned behaviors
- Poor coat condition, diarrhea, constant itching
But what leads our pets to feel stressed? Changes in the home environment, physical pain, change in pack hierarchy, confinement, separation, negative commands, aggressive owners or other aggressive animals, being hungry, and the inability to relieve himself when needed are all common causes of stress. These types of stressors are a common cause of learning and behavior problems in most animals.
In order to alleviate the stress your dog is under, it is important to assess where the stressor is coming from. Dogs are much less prone to stress if they lead happy lives, which include plenty of exercise, grooming, and of course fresh water and food. Loud noises or a disruptive lifestyle can aggravate a dog. Eliminating these types of agitating circumstances will greatly improve your dog’s attitude.
There are plenty of stress reducing remedies available at local pet supply stores, as well as behavior modification classes and trainers that can help the more deeply troubled dog, and it is best to consult a veterinarian in these cases. Dogs are very much like people and often need a little special attention in order to lead happy lives.