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Understanding Signs & Causes of Stress in Dogs

As our best friend, dogs are often great at picking up on our communication signals, especially when we are sad or stressed. But are you as aware of what your pup is telling you?

Since our dogs can’t use words to tell us how they are feeling, it’s up to us as pet parents to be aware of the common signs of stress. While all dogs are different, below is a list of body language and actions that may be signs your dog is experiencing stress or fear.

What are some signs of stress or fear in your furry friends?

Barking and growling

When dogs are more on edge they may bark or growl to communicate how they are feeling and to make the scary situation go away. So, if your dog is barking or growling more than normal, and for no particular reason, they might be experiencing some sort of fear or stress.

Yawning

When is a yawn, more than just a yawn? When a dog yawns out of stress, the yawn is usually longer and more intense than when he is tired.

Licking

Dogs may lick their paws, lips, or unusual areas when they get scared or stressed as a calming mechanism.

Ears back

Pinned back ears may be a way your dog is saying he’s stressed or scared. The farther back his ears, the more stressed he could be.

Panting

If out of the blue, without exercise, your dog begins to breathe unusually heavily they could be stressed or scared.

Tail between legs

A tucked tail is often a sign a dog is scared or stressed. Dogs will tuck their tails between their legs to show that they are submitting, and are scared of the situation.

Crouched body posture

When a dog lowers their head towards the ground they are exhibiting submissive behavior, this is usually because they are scared or stressed.

Trembling

A dog might begin to shake or tremble if they become nervous or stressed.

Hiding

Hiding in unusual places or hiding a lot more during the day is a common sign of fear and stress.

Chewing objects

Is your trained dog all the sudden chewing objects or furniture? Destructive chewing can be a way dogs relieve some of their anxiety.

Urinating in inappropriate or unusual places

This could be your dog marking new areas with their scent, which could be a sign that they are stressed, or she may be urinating spontaneously out of fear. 

Eating feces

Some dogs will eat their own feces as a type of self-soothing mechanism. Gross but true.

What are some causes of fear or stress?

Loud noises: Unknown loud noises like fireworks and thunder can be a big source of fear for your dog.

Changes to area: Rearranging furniture, new homes, or renovations shake up routines and may cause your dog to be anxious.

Car rides: The uncertainty and unpredictable nature of a car can be a cause of fear or stress.

Memory loss: As dogs age and their memory fades it can become scary, just like with humans.

Separation: When a pet owner leaves for an extended period of time a dog might become stressed or nervous.

How To Relieve Stress or Fear

Exercise: Exercise can help a dog get their energy out, which can relieve some anxiety.

Set routine: The predictability of a routine can help a dog feel more comfortable and can ultimately relieve stress and fear.

bSerene Calming Chews: bSerene Calming Chews are carefully crafted to help dogs cope with everyday stress. The calming support chews promote relaxation with key active ingredients: L-Theanine Tryptophan, Colostrum, Valerian Root, and L-Thiamine B1.

bSerene Advanced Calming Chews feature the same base ingredients plus the additional powers of Ashwagandha and Hemp Seed.  Safe for everyday use plus extra stressful situations like road trips, house guests, or thunderstorms, bSerene provides serenity when it’s needed most.