5 Signs Your Dog Is Stressed (And How You Can Help Them Relax)

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Just like people, dogs get stressed too. It’s important to recognize when your pet needs a break, so we’ve created a list of common signs of stress in dogs, along with some tips on how to help them relax.

  1. Look into their eyes: If you can see your dog’s eyelids peeled back and they show white, he/she is probably stressed. You may see a crescent shape of white as they look side-to-side, which is known as the “half-moon eye.” Red eyes are also a sign that they may need rest.
  2. Their ears: Dog ears differ, but stress will make them react in one of two ways. Some dog’s ears become more erect if they are stressed or uneasy, but some may find that they pull back or lay flat, becoming almost pinned back, when they are stressed.
  3. Check their teeth: Do you notice their lips curled back? More teeth or gums than usual? It’s important to notice that curl before a bite. It’s important to note that even whiskers can stand up during stress.
  4. Tails: A tail says a lot about a dog. A tail between the legs is common, but if it’s pointing straight down, or just wagging at the tip, it may mean stress.
  5. Body language: A dog’s entire body language will say the most about their stress levels. Some things to look out for when trying to see stress are abnormal shedding, tense muscles, excessive yawning, excessive drooling, itching and scratching, and licking of lips and nose.

You may have just realized that your dog might be stressed, but there’s good news! There are things you can do to help your dog relax.

  1. A calm and stable environment is very important to your dog’s stress levels.  Making the home peaceful, without loud noises will be beneficial to your dogs stress levels. Much like humans, dogs pick up on vibes in their environments.
  2. Pheromones: For maximum relaxation, plugging in an pheromone diffuser can actually help your dog relax. These chemical messengers can make a dog feel that it is safe and secure, and that it can relax.
  3. Pet your dog: It sounds simple, but the small things go a long way to our furry friends. Pet gently, glide your hand over their coat, follow the direction of the lie of the coat. Try using both hands, one following in the trail of the other.
  4. A bed: It is important that a dog has a comfortable place to lie. The dog should have open access to this area and should never be forced into it. This could be anything from a blanket on the floor to an actual doggy bed.
  5. Exercise: Physical activity is key to a dog’s health. Be sure to give your dog exercise every day. Activity levels vary, but breeds such as the Jack Russell or Border Collies, need plenty of exercise. If you leave them at home for many hours during the day, this is especially important.
  6. Diet: Do your research and make sure your dog has an appropriate diet. Feed a good quality food that is right for your dog’s life stage and size. You can learn about Solid Gold’s nutritional philosophy here!