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Dogs that appear eternally serene and devoid of stress can indeed experience stress, much akin to humans. Even minor occurrences can morph into stressors for our canine companions, potentially culminating in health problems or even illness. Our aim is to elucidate the origins of stress in dogs, indicators of such stress, and approaches to mitigating it.
What Causes Dogs To Get Stressed?
There are broadly two main causes for dogs to feel stress. These are psychological stress and physical stress. Let’s take a closer look at what specifically constitutes each of these types.
Stress Caused by Psychological Factors
Changes in the Environment
① Instances arise where the abode a pup knows as home transforms—be it the warm entry from a pet emporium into a forever haven, or the voyage to unfamiliar terrains.
Dogs, rooted in the embrace of the familiar, undergo a dance with stress, an ensemble of disquiet and tension, as they traverse these novel avenues.
Upon the genesis of adoption, an impulse for frolic and interaction emerges. Yet, treading gently initially becomes paramount, allowing for a gradual assimilation. For inordinate attention, though well-intentioned, might kindle weariness and the shadows of stress.
② Seasons of change unfurl as families burgeon—weddings weave new bonds, infants bestow their presence, and additional canines find their niche.
The love unfurled by the custodians fans not solely towards the hound but to others as well. This diffusion births a longing for proximity and births the specters of anxiety and cognitive strain.
Mirth courses through the veins of canines at play, at the touch of toys or caresses. Routine intimacy, a cherished elixir, should never slip into oblivion.
Stress Arising from Different Body Aspects
“Impact of Excessive or Inadequate Exercise”
What causes harm through excessive exercise?
Overwhelming physical activity strains the bones and joints, burdens the heart excessively, and has a detrimental effect on overall well-being, potentially leading to a shortened lifespan.
On the contrary, a lack of physical engagement can trigger stress, resulting in aggression or weight gain, even when food consumption remains unchanged.
Both excessive and insufficient exercise can induce stress in dogs.
Now, what defines moderate exercise? The necessary workout volume varies based on the breed of the dog.
For larger breeds, a recommended duration for walks ranges from about 30 to 60 minutes, while smaller breeds flourish with 20 to 30 minutes.
However, precise exercise requirements vary among dogs. Carefully assess your dog’s condition while embarking on walks.
Even in the Ordinary Casual Life, the Cause of Stress Is…
Fluctuations in temperature can lead to canine health issues. The optimal temperature range for dogs is generally considered to be 22-26°C.
Notably, numerous dogs display heightened sensitivity to warmer weather. In such instances, they employ panting as a mechanism to regulate their body temperature—an action aptly referred to as “panting.” Given their furry coats and susceptibility to retaining heat, panting serves as a crucial means for dissipating bodily warmth.
In the summertime, employing air conditioning, and in the winter, using heating systems, becomes essential to uphold the dogs’ well-being by preserving the favorable temperature range of 22-26°C.
A dog’s eyes reportedly perceive the world in black and white, complicating the task of distinguishing colors. Nevertheless, this trade-off grants them the extraordinary capability to navigate even in the dimmest of lights.
This ability empowers them to thrive in darkness. For instance, the lights at home typically require no activation in my absence. However, maintaining illumination during their customary hours proves advisable. Despite the routine timing for their radiance, I find myself unsettled and overwhelmed when they remain unlit, plagued by questions surrounding their dormant state.
Dogs exhibit a remarkable sensitivity to smells. Their olfactory abilities are touted to be “100 million times” more potent than those of humans. It’s noteworthy that dogs harbor an aversion to potent odors such as tobacco, alcohol, citrus fruits, perfume, and vinegar. The mere encounter with these scents can induce stress in dogs. To mitigate this, consider incorporating an air purifier and refraining from exposing your dog to the aforementioned pungent elements.
If the Owner Is Stressed, the Dog Will Be Stressed Too!?
Dogs Are Sensitive to Your Small Changes
The stress of the owner quickly gets transmitted to the dogs. For example, through tone of voice, attitude, gestures, atmosphere, facial expressions, and so on, dogs sensitively perceive these. The owner’s negative emotions influence the dogs, making them anxious, and that becomes a source of stress.
How To Recognize Signs of Stress in Dogs
Dogs cannot speak words. However, when they are feeling stressed, they give out stress signals because they want their owners to notice. It becomes important for the owners to quickly realize through daily observation.
Pay Attention to Casual Movements
You might perceive yawning as a sign of sleepiness or relaxation. However, yawning’s significance extends beyond tiredness or calmness.
Yawning can also signify actions such as “taking a deep breath” or “sighing,” which often tie into tension, anxiety, and stress. Yawning becomes a response to these emotions as well, in addition to sleepiness or relaxation.
Furthermore, yawning serves as one of the “calming signals” employed to soothe one’s own and others’ sentiments. When a dog yawns upon encountering an unfamiliar person or when receiving a reprimand, it communicates the intention of avoiding conflict.
Moreover, yawning functions as a way to communicate mistrust to others. For instance, if someone yawns when touched by a stranger, it’s likely rooted in the stress triggered by a sense of mistrust.
Hence, interpreting a yawn involves distinguishing between “sleepiness” and “stress.” If stressors are at play, it’s wise to address and alleviate them.
② Licking or Biting a Part of the Body
There are pets that lick or bite when their owners don’t pay attention to them or when they feel stressed. In particular, they often lick or bite their tails and paws. If they lick or bite too much, it can cause inflammation, swelling, redness, and hair loss. Let’s notice this behavior before inflammation occurs.
③ Lower the Tail (Put the Tail Between the Hind Legs)
When feeling anxious, uncomfortable, fearful, or physically unwell due to stress, the tail hangs down. Furthermore, as the sense of fear intensifies, the tail can be curled between the hind legs. For instance, you can observe this behavior in animals when they go to the animal hospital or grooming, hear loud noises, or get scolded by their owner.
④ Chasing the Tail
Because of their innate curiosity, puppies often engage in the pursuit of moving objects as a psychological reaction. For many puppies, their tails become objects of fascination, prompting them to embark on playful tail-chasing endeavors. However, when adult dogs engage in tail-chasing, it signifies not playfulness but rather a manifestation of stress. This conduct is termed “tail-chasing syndrome.” Numerous dogs display this conduct as a response to feelings of neglect from their owners or when left unattended at home. If this conduct is not addressed, it has the potential to transform into a persistent habit. Moreover, incessant chasing and nipping may result in irritation. As this behavior is rooted in the stress of solitude, it is imperative to invest ample quality time and bestow affection upon your canine companion when you are in their presence.
⑤ Stick out Your Tongue and Nibble
For dogs, protruding their tongue is a frequent behavior employed to regulate body temperature, a phenomenon known as “panting.” It’s natural for them to extend their tongue and pant during walks or playtime. Nevertheless, if a dog extends its tongue and pants without any specific activity, there’s a significant chance that it’s experiencing stress.
When a dog extends its tongue and pants, particularly during a visit to an animal hospital, it’s often a result of stress stemming from nervousness. When they exhibit this behavior indoors, it could be attributed to an unsuitable indoor temperature. Even if the temperature might seem comfortable to humans, it could induce stress in dogs.
While observing your dog’s behavior and condition, take into account the possibility of adjusting the indoor temperature to alleviate potential stressors.
What if These Symptoms Appear? Go to the Animal Hospital Immediately!
◇ The frequency of vomiting increases. ◇ The frequency of diarrhea increases, and there is blood in the stool or urine. ◇ Hair loss or baldness is occurring.
These three symptoms could potentially occur due to “stress as the cause.” However, there is also a possibility of very serious infections or illnesses. Therefore, it is recommended to visit a hospital promptly for a proper examination.
What Parents Can Do To Relieve Stress
Allow Enough Time To Communicate With Your Dog
・Show affection through physical touch. ・Play together with toys. ・Ensure moderate walks and exercise, and so on.
For dogs, communication with their owner is a source of great joy. It’s important not to neglect it even if you’re busy.
Create a Comfortable Environment for Your Dog
Dogs cannot thrive in solitude; we, as humans, must establish a setting conducive to their well-being.
Initially, ensure an ample provision of sustenance and hydration. The absence of these essentials hinders their survival. Subsequently, maintain the indoor temperature within the range of 22-26℃, and routinely attend to their needs. Given that potentially hazardous objects like electrical outlets, slippers, and tissues lie within a dog’s line of sight, it is imperative to elevate such items or erect safeguards as preventive measures against inadvertent consumption. Let us craft a haven of safety and reassurance, fostering their tranquility amidst the realms of potential stress in dogs.
Dogs are very sensitive and patient. They try not to show their weaknesses by enduring. Therefore, there are times when they may become unwell due to stress. So, all you pet owners, please pay attention to your dog’s little actions, behavior, and signs of stress, and try to care for them to reduce and alleviate their stress even just a little.