Stress in dogs

How to detect stress in your dog and how to calm him down? ALZOO™ explains it to you

Causes of stress in dogs

One of the major sources of stress for dogs is feeling abandoned by their family. Unlike the cat, which is a loner, canines are social species that live attached to their pack or its equivalent, in this case its family for the domestic dog.

This means that situations where the dog is left alone at home are particularly stressful, especially since the dog has only a rough idea of the time that passes. Five minutes can seem like an eternity.

Conflicts between dogs in the same family can be stressful, but they usually never last very long and are resolved after a good “fight” to establish the hierarchy.

Everything that affects the family is a potential source of stress. The dog feels the irritation of his owners and the distensions that can exist between family members and can suffer from it. He can also be affected if he feels left out of the group, for example when a newborn arrives. In these cases, it is better to have the dog participate in the arrival of the newborn child, for whom he will often become a good bodyguard.

Other events are anxiety-provoking:

For dogs that are hyper-sensitive to noise, thunderstorms, fireworks or other noisy events are a source of significant stress.

The same is true for dogs that are particularly fearful of people they don’t know or unfamiliar objects.

Their anxiety can also be linked to a specific disturbing situation (visit to the groomer, car journey, departure on vacation, etc.), in particular a visit to the vet.

Signals of stress in dogs

Dogs express their stress in different ways.

  • Through his voice: he barks or howls for hours. This can cause enormous problems in the neighborhood, as the dog becomes an undeniable source of nuisance.
  • By the teeth: it destroys everything that passes under the tooth: furniture, doors, trinkets, shoes…
  • Cleanliness: he leaves stools and puddles of urine everywhere in the house.
  • Toc: he develops licking or biting behaviors, even self-mutilation. This is comparable to humans who bite their nails.

More generally, the stressed dog gasps, may remain prostrate or on the contrary move incessantly back and forth ….

Solutions to stress in dogs

There is no point in punishing your dog, who will not understand what he is being reproached for and may, on the contrary, aggravate the situation by transforming the stress into neurosis.

The ideal is of course to avoid anxiety-provoking situations:

  • This can be difficult, especially for “separation anxiety”. There are a few tricks like leaving a radio on with lots of voices, putting his favorite toys at his disposal: this will allow him to occupy himself and will give him a feeling of comfort. There are even technological gadgets that allow you to talk to your dog from a distance, but we don’t know how effective they are.
  • There is also the possibility of giving him a companion, but with the risk of doubling the problem.
  • Changes in the family usually go well if the dog is actively involved, for example when a new baby arrives. Although it may seem strange, it is a good idea to “introduce” the new arrival and let the dog sniff it out and make it his own, always under supervision. The source of stress will instead become a great joy, as most dogs love children. And above all, don’t exclude him from the family circle on this occasion.
  • Know how to prepare your companion for foreseeable anxiety-provoking situations. In case of fireworks, for example, provide him with a place where he can hide and feel safe.

ALZOO™ has developed a range of calming products with extracts of lavender and valerian, known for their soothing properties for dogs. You can use one of these products as a preventive measure.

Finally, … stay calm! Indeed, your faithful companion can feel when you are stressed too and it is a big source of worry for him.

If despite all precautions, the symptoms persist, we advise you to make an appointment with a veterinarian or a canine behaviorist.