Stress often manifests itself in dogs as loud barking, restless groping, increased salivation or aggressive behavior. Find out which triggers lead to stress and how you can help your dog to reduce stress here.
WHAT IS STRESS IN DOGS?
First of all, stress is a natural reaction of the body to emotional or physical stress. The body releases stress hormones and other messenger substances in order to function even better and to be able to cope with the stressful situation. But long-term stress in dogs can lead to excessive demands. The stress then has a negative effect on the dog’s body and wellbeing .
Each dog also reacts differently to certain stress factors . For example, it causes enormous stress for some dogs when the doorbell rings, when they run into another dog while walking or when they have to stay home alone. Whereas some other dogs accept these situations completely relaxed.
Therefore, it is advisable that you monitor your dog closely to determine which triggers are causing him or her stress. This is the only way you can then work specifically to reduce the stress in your dog.
WHAT CAUSES STRESS IN DOGS?
The triggers for stress in dogs can be very different. As individual as every single dog is, every dog reacts differently to possible stress triggers. However, there are certain situations and circumstances that cause stress in many dogs. These include, for example, the following potential stress factors:
- Noise : Many dogs are sensitive to noise and loud noises. High-pitched, high-pitched tones in particular put some four-legged friends on alert.
- Loneliness : Puppies and very people-oriented dogs first have to get used to staying home alone for a certain period of time. In the beginning they are often anxious and fearful of loss. They miss their master or mistress and do not know whether it will come back. Some dogs panic when they are left alone.
- Other dogs : There are dogs that stress other dogs. One possible reason for this is that the dog wants to defend its master or mistress.
- Visiting strangers : Visiting strangers in the “Revier” stresses some dogs. This can manifest itself in negative, aggressive behavior as well as in the fact that the dog is overjoyed and cannot relax.
- Driving : Driving is stressful for many dogs. This may be because they are uncomfortable or because they are excited about where it is going.
- Train, bus or air travel : other modes of transport are also not popular with all dogs. Traveling on airplanes, where medium and large dogs are stowed in the hold of the aircraft, can be particularly stressful.
- Vacation : While we humans mostly relax on vacation, the other environment often leads to stress in dogs. They often take longer to get used to.
- Experiences of violence : If dogs are exposed to violence – psychological or physical – this leads to stress and fear.
- Changes : Dogs are “creatures of habit”! Changes of any kind can initially cause stress.
- Health ailments : Pain or other health ailments lead to stress in dogs. A physical cause for a new stress behavior in the dog should therefore always be ruled out by a veterinarian.
HOW IS STRESS EXPRESSED IN DOGS?
Dogs deal with stress differently. But there are some signs that the dog is stressed. These include the following features:
- The dog barks frequently or continuously.
- He paces restlessly up and down.
- He shows increased body tension .
- He’s trembling .
- The dog has increased salivation .
- He often licks his fur or paws (sometimes up to open wounds).
- He gnaws or destroys objects or furniture.
- The dog shows aggressive behavior (growling, biting).
- Digestive problems such as diarrhea and vomiting can also be a symptom of stress in the dog.
WHAT CAN BE DONE AGAINST STRESS IN DOGS?
First of all, it is important to identify the possible cause of the stress in your dog . For this, it may be necessary for the vet to examine the dog thoroughly in order to rule out possible diseases (e.g. thyroid problems). If there are no physical causes, the triggers for the stress must be identified.
The following tips can help reduce stress in dogs:
- Slowly and carefully get your dog used to the stress inducer.
- For example, leave the house only briefly at first and then gradually increase the time in which you leave your dog alone. In this way he gets used to being alone and knows that you will always come back.
- Provide clear and understandable instructions .
- Reward positive dog behavior.
- Avoid objective stress triggers (e.g. very loud music). This can also harm your dog physically (e.g. hearing impairment). Quiet music, on the other hand, has a relaxing effect on some dogs. Try it!
- Do not overwhelm the dog. Take enough breaks from your workout.
- Get professional help if you can’t cope on your own. There are many professional dog trainers and veterinarians who specialize in behavior problems.
WHICH REMEDIES HELP AGAINST STRESS IN DOGS?
Medication alone should not be used to solve your dog’s stress problem. Rather, they can provide support in certain situations . The same goes for home remedies and herbal products.
Medicines for stress are prescribed by the vet. You may only administer these agents according to the instructions of a veterinarian, otherwise serious side effects can occur. The aim of this therapy is to relieve the dog’s feeling of fear (anxiolysis). You can choose from anti-anxiety sedatives (anxiolytics) and psychotropic drugs , as well as other preparations such as food supplements, animal feed, herbal preparations and pheromones. Herbal remedies for stress include, for example, valerian, lemon balm, St. John’s wort or hops.
CBD FOR STRESS IN DOGS
Herbal remedies for dog stress include CBD products such as CBD oil . Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural ingredient of the hemp plant. Medically, it has a relaxing, pain relieving, anxiety-relieving and calming effect . In dogs, therefore, CBD products can be used as a natural, alternative means of calming.
Certain occasions are particularly stressful for dogs, for example New Year’s Eve . The loud New Year’s fireworks are threatening to many dogs. It is difficult to completely remove the dog from this noise. In such situations, cannabidiol products can help your dog relax.
It is important that you make sure that the CBD product contains little or no THC before buying . THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component of the hemp plant: It has an intoxicating effect that is completely undesirable in dogs.