Dog stress is a common occurrence which can manifest itself in the form of alteration in the dog’s behavior and even death in some extreme cases. There have been instances recorded of dog depression wherein the dog has refused to eat or move etc on account of its owner’s death. Similarly a dog that has just been brought into a new home or a new environment will also feel under stress and be insecure on being out of its familiar territory. In such cases, if the dog is not made to feel secure and comfortable in its new surroundings, it will lead to behavioral issues like aggression towards strangers. Dog stress symptoms can be observed in the form of changes in the dog’s posture such as the dog’s body going tense, change in pace etc when exposed to a particular stressful situation. Similarly dogs under stress will also tend to whine and bark excessively and have a glazed look or dilated pupils.
Dog stress can be minimized by talking the dogs for short walks during the day so that it gets a sufficient amount of exercise and is able to socialize with other people and dogs thereby allowing it to feel comfortable in its surroundings. Exercising dogs also tends to increase the serotonin level which in turn acts as a natural sedative that calms the dog. Corrective measures such as hitting the dog or yelling at it are detrimental to the dog’s mental well being and should be avoided. Dogs that are bored tend to chew or bite into things lying around the house, eat or drink excessively and even destroy things around the house which may in turn pose a problem to the owner. The dog should be provided with enough stimuli to keep it distracted in the form of toys, playing with the dog and training sessions. Some dogs also get stressed out with strange noises like thunder, clapping etc. In such cases the pet should be moved to a part of the house where the sound is not too loud and the owner should remain with the pet till the noise stops and the pet appears to be visibly calmer.
Some dogs also display signs of separation anxiety such as scratching at the door, howling etc. In such cases the dog should be made used to the owner’s departure by staging several departures and exits during the day and then gradually increasing the length of the departure as the dog begins to adjust.