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With person-to-person interactions, it’s easy to spot signs of stress or discomfort. We have the ability to communicate with each other through language, mannerisms, facial expressions, tone, and so on. 

When you stub your toe, you say “ow” along with other colorful words, jump around before stopping to hold your injured toe, and ride out the pain. For dogs, yeah, you’ll hear a yelp if something hurts, but sometimes our fur babies don’t express their pain and stress the same way we do. 

How do we know our dogs are stressed?

How are they trying to tell us they are stressed?

In this blog post, we look into 5 ways your dog is trying to tell you you’re stressed and what to do. 

5 Ways Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You They’re Stressed

1. Their body language shifted.

You know your dog best; their behavior, their average body language, and energy. If their body language changes, look for these signs:

  • Lowered ears
  • Tucked tail between legs
  • Panting
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Whale eye, or when your dog shows more of the white of their eyes

While body language is certainly a strong indicator, it’s not the only factor at play (e.g. your dog may be panting because they were playing hard).

2.  Your dog is pacing.

Pacing for dogs is a form of restlessness that usually indicates something is bothering them and they cannot relax or settle down because of stress. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), “If this happens during mealtimes or for short periods, it might not be a big deal. But, noticing when your dog engages in this behavior can give you clues as to what is triggering their anxiety. In older dogs, pacing may be a sign of dementia.”

If you’re unable to determine the source of stress and/or you have a senior dog exhibiting this sign, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

3. Your dog is hiding more.

When your dog is hiding, a stressor in their environment is causing them anxiety. If you find your dog is hiding under the bed, burrowing in their kennel, or isolating, this is an indication that your dog is stressed. Furthermore, it can be an indication of an injury so inspect your dog and monitor their behavior before connecting with a veterinarian for help.

4. Your dog wants more of your attention.

Stress can manifest itself with dogs as separation anxiety. When your dog is stressed, they may overbearingly seek comfort from you. For example, you’re sitting in the living room watching TV and your dog keeps jumping on your lap or putting all their weight into leaning against you. 

We recommend reading our tips for separation anxiety at this blog post.

5. Your dog is shedding excessively.

Dogs shed! Big woof. But there’s something to be concerned about if your dog excessively sheds during winter temperatures. With summer approaching, be diligent with grooming so you can monitor your dog’s normal shedding cycle. If your dog is shedding excessively, your dog may be trying to tell you that they are stressed.

This is just a sampling of tips and informational posts we offer at Joyride Harness. You can find more content including tips and tricks and how-tos for caring for your dog on our blog in this section.

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