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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

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Stress Defined:
 
"The difference between what is, and how we think it
should be."

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What is it?


Canine stress can be caused by physical or emotional discomfort. Some dog
stress in response to changes in the environment such as moving furniture, new furniture, new people or pets, people yelling, or too much household activity.

Always rule out medical causes of stress or of any sudden behavior changes by a visit to the veterinarian and diagnostic tests. If your dog gets a clean bill of health, then most likely, the stress is coming from something or someone in the home environment.
 
When observing any sudden behavior changes, or any other signs of stress, always start by ruling out medical causes by a visit to the veterinarian and diagnostic tests.

How do know if a dog  is stressed?

Your dog's body language will tell you if he or she is stressed versus relaxed and happy. Pay attention to ears, mouth, and tail. Ears back and a low or tucked tail are signs of stress as is yawning or trembling.

What are possible causes canine stress?
  • Fleas or any medical condition

  • New dog heard in the neighborhood

  • Wildlife in yard, around home

  • New work schedule of people

  • New baby

  • New pet

  • New person

  • New or rearranged furniture

  • New scent in the house

  • Tension in the household, yelling, inconsistent behavior

  • Insufficient opportunity to exercise

  • No clear household structure, unclear instruction and rules

  • Pet spoiling resulting in unclear human leadership

  • Lack of companionship

  • Environmental stresses such as extreme weather

How else may I know if a dog is stressed?

  • Overeating

  • Not eating

  • Inappropriate urination or defecation

  • Aggression

  • Hiding

  • Cowering, head drooping, excess yawning
     

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