How to understand that a dog has stress? And why does distress develop in dogs?
Stress is an integral part of the life of any creature. However, it is worth distinguishing between eustress, which positively affects vitality and helps mobilize forces, and distress, which has a destructive effect on the body.
Like us, dogs are stressed. How to understand that your dog is stressed?
Causes of Dog Stress
Excessive stress in dogs can be caused by the following reasons:
- Close contact that the dog would like to avoid.
- Thirst or hunger (both lack of food and water, as well as cruel training methods based on depriving a dog of water and food “for greater motivation”).
- Lack of attention.
- Excessive stimulation (physical or mental), overload.
How does stress in dogs manifest at a physiological level?
When a dog experiences stress, changes occur in its body:
- The heart pumps blood faster, the heartbeat accelerates.
- Depth and rate of respiration increase.
- Muscles contract more.
- Blood flow to the bladder and intestines decreases.
- Blood vessels narrow.
All this cannot but affect the behavior of dogs.
How does stress affect dog behavior?
We can talk about the dog experiencing excessive stress when the dog cannot influence the situation it is in, or does not know what awaits it further, that is, the dog’s world is full of dangers, unpredictability and chaos.
Typically, animals respond to a threat with behaviors that fit within 4F:
- to run (flight) - cowardice, excessive shyness
- fight - aggression, including seemingly unmotivated
- fawn - for example, a dog shows reconciliation signals or puddles when the owner comes home
- or freeze.
And if the first three are striking (in any case, to a person who understands the language of dogs at least for some reason) and there is a chance that the owner will contact a specialist, then they often do not pay attention to fading - but in vain.
The reaction of freezing in dogs is dangerous because the animal may look normal outwardly, it simply suffers from infectious diseases, then the hair falls out, then dandruff appears. And it is worth curing one thing, as the other escalates immediately ...
How to understand that a dog has stress?
There are signs by which you can determine the state of stress in dogs.
- Dilated pupils (the so-called "wild" look).
- Rapid pulse.
- Hard breath.
- Increased sweating paws (traces may remain on the floor).
- Itching and / or dandruff.
- The dog bites the leash, bites the owner for clothes, etc.
- Increased thirst.
- The dog smells bad.
- Bad breath.
- Licking or biting paws and / or other parts of the body.
- Destructive behavior (spoiling things, etc.)
- Urinary incontinence.
- Tense muscles.
It should be borne in mind that the reactions in different dogs appear differently, however, these signs should alert the owner.
It is important to pay attention to any manifestations of stress in the dog and, if you can not help the pet yourself, seek help from specialists.