If You Feel Stressed, Your Dog May Be Stressed TooAuthor: Joseph Sabol
Stress is a normal part of our everyday lives. We've learned to recognize it and have found ways to reduce or deal with our stress. I think in today's world, it is unlikely to eliminate stress completely. Even if we are content in our lives and relatively healthy and happy, we still have times when stress affects us. Have you ever thought that the family dog may be feeling stress too?
Most of us figure our dogs have it made. They are treated like one of the family, getting special treats, going on trips or vacations, sleeping on their own chair or even in your bed. They are fed and cared for and we clean up after them. Sounds like a great life right? The truth is, our four legged family member can suffer the affects of stress, but you might not realize it. So, how do you know if your dog suffers from stress and what would cause it?
Dogs are very sensitive to their environment, including the mood of the household and its family members, so discord in the home would cause your dog to feel anxious and stressed. I know that Doberman Pinschers are extremely sensitive and a home that is constant chaos is not a good fit for a Doberman. This could be true for other breeds or breed mixes as well. German Shepherds and Great Danes have a tendency toward being more neurotic and anxious.
There are many other things that could cause a dog to feel stressed. Boredom, fear, changes in the family, and a move to a new home are just a few situations that could upset your dog. Dogs left home alone all day or crated for long periods can suffer stress and depression. Fear of other dogs, loud noises such as thunder or fireworks, as well as bringing a new pet or a new baby into the home could all be stressful for your canine family member. Other sources of stress are things as simple as hunger or not being able to relieve himself.
If your dog has started exhibiting behavior problems, the source may be stress and anxiety. It may show itself in things like, whining, howling, destructive chewing, weight loss, or skin and coat problems. Panting, drooling, digging, and trembling are also signs of stress.
There are things you can do to help your pooch if he or she is feeling stressed. Try to keep surroundings calm. Give your pet some extra attention. Human touch lowers heart rate and blood pressure in dogs. Make sure he has appropriate toys to relieve boredom through play or chewing. One of the best, most important stress relievers is exercise. Spend time playing outside or going for a walk or a run. Make sure your dog has a den or a quiet place he can go where he feels safe and relaxed. My Doberman boy, Thunder has a corner behind a table where he likes to go to for time out. Be extra patient, remember, your pup can't help how he or she feels. If these strategies aren't enough, consult with your veterinarian. There are medications available to help.
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Joseph M. Sabol is a world class Doberman breeder. Please go to http://petvitamins4u.com or to http://theroadhousedobes.com for further information.
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Help Your Dog Cope with StressAuthor: Ann Steward
While we all understad how important it is to effectively manage our stress, we often fail to realize how important it is to help our dogs do the same. So what stress sources from our lives significantly impact our dogs? Here are a few examples:
- Interpersonal Stress
- Behavior Problems in Children
- The Moving Process
- Changes in the Home
- Natural Disasters
These are all natural occurrences in life, but they can negatively impact our pets as well as us. Signs of Stress in DogsMany of the symptoms of extra stress in your companion pet may also be connected to other problems. Ignoring them could be hazardous for your dog. Here are a few of these signs to watch for:
- Self Chewing - while most animals will chew a little as a form of cleaning, excessive chewing is indicative of high stress.
- Destructive Behavior - While some animals are naturally inclined to some desctructive behavior, this would be in excess of what's normal for your companion pet.
- Separation anxiety
- Lack of appetite & refusal to open mouth
- Improper bowel movements & vomiting
- Unusually passive behavior including keeping tail between the legs or avoiading eye contact.
The time to be concerned with these behaviors is when they become excessive or increased from what's normal. If you do see an increase, start evaluating the stress factors your dog may be experiencing. Physiological EffectsJust like humans, exposure to a highly stressful environments and situations can take a physiological toll on your dog. These can include:
- Stress related diarrhea
- Stomach Upset
- Skin irritation
Helping Fido through Stressful Times
Unlike us, our dogs don't have teh ability to "muscle" through stress. We need to step up our efforts to help deduce their stress. Here are some tips on how:
Give your dog "happy" attention. - Dogs are often loved because they empathize when their master is having a hard time. While this may help the master a little, if this is habitual it has a severe negative impact in the psychological wellbeing of the animal. Just like you might fake happiness with a toddler, do the same thing with your dog to help reduce their stress.
Consider boarding your dog. While in the process of changing your dog's environment, consider boarding them for a short time. Dogs are great at adapting to new environments, but they aren't great at dealing with change. Boarding your dog while making physical changes to their environment will cause less stress than watching the changes happen.
Being around other animals will help decrease stress. Take your dog to a dog park or enroll her in a doggie daycare to get the necessary socialization and reduce the stress felt.
We all want what's best for out families, including out pets. Don't forget to consider the stress your dog feels when things aren't normal at home and help give them the attention needed to successfully cope will it too.
Ann Stewart has a passion for animals. As owner of Advantage Pet Center, Ann has the pleasure of working with a variety of animals, from dogs to cats to lizards to guinea pigs by offering doggie daycare, cat and dog grooming, and pet boarding for all varieties of pets. With this exposure to animals, Ann is continually looking for ways to help pet owners maintain a happy home for the entire family, and offer tips and suggestions for how to help keep your furry friend happy, healthy, and lovable.
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