6 signs your dog is having a stress-mas
There’s so much to be done at Christmas. Visiting relatives, hosting parties, ordering the turkey, buying presents and wrapping presents are just a few of the things we have to content with. If you’re feeling stressed out your dog might be too. They can also get stressed from changes to routine or from frequent new visitors.
Here are six things to watch out for that can signal your dog is feeling stressed.
Decrease in Appetite
Dogs are evolved to eat whenever food is available so they don’t generally stop eating without a good reason.
Sleeping More or Seeking Isolation
If your dog is feeling overwhelmed they may start to mentally shut down to block out the stressful situation. Trying to escape to quiet rooms or spending more time asleep is both signs that something is wrong.
Aggressiveness and Destructive Behaviour
Perhaps the most obvious sign your dog is unhappy is if a usually placid dog starts exhibiting aggression or destructive behaviour like chewing shoes, shredding cushions or biting furniture (or you!).
Once house-trained dogs generally prefer not to soil their living quarters. Starting to have accidents again can indicate that your dog is feeling stressed.
A usually quiet dog barking frequently or a change in barking is usually a symptom that your dog is feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
Other signs that your dog is unhappy and stressed can include licking round the lips and nose, panting for no obvious reason, yawning frequently, sniffing more than usual, holding the ears pinned to the head and holding the tail tucked in.
What can you do?
Prevention is always better than cure. Try to avoid significant changes to your dog’s routine and make sure that they have a chance to get out for a walk at least once a day. Try not to change his mealtimes even if you’re eating at different times to normal.
Try to avoid situations where you know your dog will become stressed. If parties aren’t his things consider shutting him in a quiet room whilst your guests are here.
Keep to your rules. Dogs like to know the score. It’s tempting to relax the rules but if your dog doesn’t know how you’ll react he’s likely to become worried and nervous. For example if he’s usually asked to stay away from the table offering him titbits from your plate as a treat will only confuse him.
Taking note of the signs above and reacting according will allow your dog to get through the festive season without too much stress – enjoy!