What Makes Dogs Stressed

Dogs can experience stress due to boredom, frustration, fear, or anxiety.

The limits put in place due to the coronavirus may also be making you feel a little anxious. As dogs are able to detect when something is off, being around a stressed out family member will often be enough to have an impact on them.

Dogs are susceptible to changes in routine, such as getting less exercise. This may result in excess energy that has nowhere to go. Or your dog might grow anxious after lockup when you let him out in public. Keep in mind that your dog has gotten used to staying at home as well, and that they could want additional assistance to help them re-acclimate to hectic environments.

What canine stress indicators are there?

The word “stress” is frequently used to refer to pressure or strained feelings. There are a wide variety of stress-related factors. Maybe your job is making you worried, maybe you get uncomfortable when you meet new people, or maybe you get anxious when your daily routine is interrupted.

You can find comfort in a number of methods to lower your stress levels. You might find comfort in the companionship of a reliable friend. Perhaps you get stress relief when engaged in common tasks like housecleaning. Or perhaps you work out to let off some steam.

Even our dogs are susceptible to stress. Since we are aware of how stress affects us, we undoubtedly want to assist in reducing stress in our pets. However, how can we tell when our dogs are stressed out when they don’t express their emotions, slam the phone down, or throw a fit? In dogs, worry frequently shows itself in subtle ways. In actuality, certain stress-related behaviors resemble those of unwinding.

What are some of the indicators of stress in dogs?

shaking or pacing After a bath or a roll in the grass, you’ve probably seen your dog shake. Except when it’s a reaction to stress, that whole-body trembling can be funny and quite acceptable. Dogs, for instance, frequently experience worry when visiting the vet. When they land on the ground after leaving the test table, many dogs “shake it off.” Dogs pace when disturbed, just like people do. While they wait for the vet to enter, some canines circle the examination room repeatedly.

barking or whining. In dogs, vocalization is a common form of self-expression, albeit it can become more intense under stress. Dogs who are anxious or fearful may whine or bark to attract your attention or to calm themselves.

licking, yawning, and drooling. Dogs yawn when they are exhausted, bored, or under stress. A strained yawn is longer and more powerful than a sleepy one. Additionally, anxious dogs may lick and drool excessively.

eyes and ears change. Like agitated individuals, stressed dogs may exhibit dilated pupils and fast blinking. They could appear shocked by opening their eyes extremely wide and exhibiting more sclera (white) than usual. Normal alert or relaxed ears are pressed back against the head.

alterations in posture. Dogs often support their weight evenly on all four legs. A healthy dog that has no orthopedic issues may be showing signs of stress if he shifts his weight to his back legs or cowers. Dogs may tuck their tails or become very rigid when they are terrified.

Shedding. When show dogs get anxious in the ring, they frequently “blow their coat.” Dogs shed a lot while they are at the vet’s office. Even while it’s less obvious when the dog is outside, like when visiting a brand-new dog park, anxiety causes more shedding.

Panting. When they are overheated, excited, or stressed, dogs pant. Even when he hasn’t exercised, your dog may be stressed if he is panting.

alterations to how the body works. Like anxious individuals, anxious dogs may have an unexpected urge to use the restroom. Your dog may be claiming his territory and responding to the stress at the same time when he urinates quickly after meeting a new canine friend. Food refusal and gastrointestinal dysfunction are further signs of stress.

Displacement or avoidance behavior. Dogs may “leave” an unpleasant circumstance by concentrating on something else. They might sniff the earth, lick their private parts, or just walk away. Even though ignoring someone is not courteous, it is preferable to becoming aggressive. Do not push your dog to engage with people or other dogs if they avoid it. Observe his decision.

hiding or running away. Some anxious dogs literally move behind their owners to hide as an extension of avoidance. Even so, they might nudge their owners to get them to move on. They may dig, circle, hide behind a tree or a parked car, or engage in other diverting behaviors as a means of escaping.

How can I help my dog handle stressful situations?

You must be familiar with your dog’s typical behavior in order to distinguish stress symptoms from routine activity. Then you will be able to determine whether he is licking his lips out of anxiety or desire for a treat.

He will have semi-erect or looking forward ears, a soft mouth, and round eyes when at ease. He’ll balance himself equally on all four paws. You may alleviate an uncomfortable situation fast and efficiently by distinguishing between normal behavior and stress symptoms.

Remove the stressor from your dog if he’s stressed out. Find him a peaceful area to rest. Refrain from trying to soothe him too much. Make him work for the attention or rewards you wish to give him by engaging in an activity first (e.g., sitting). The dog is diverted and given a sense of normalcy when it responds to routine commands. Amazingly, the commands sit, down, and heel may sooth a distressed dog.

Visit your veterinarian if your dog exhibits signs of stress on a regular basis. Your veterinarian might suggest hiring a trainer or veterinary behaviorist to assess stress-related problems after making sure that your dog’s behavior is not caused by a medical condition. If necessary, they could also recommend anxiety drugs.

Just like with humans, exercise has a powerful calming effect. Walking or playing fetch are two exercises that might help you and your dog relax. It’s also a good idea to give your dog a secure area of the house where he may retreat from stressful events. A serene setting is appealing to everyone.

Finally, keep in mind that stress is not necessarily negative. Stress-related emotion called fear makes us steer clear of potentially unsafe circumstances. Therefore, stress might really be a safeguard. Whatever the case, stress is a normal part of life for both us and our dogs, therefore we should acquire effective coping mechanisms.

Exercise Your Dog

Never leaving your dog alone is the apparent solution if they suffer from separation anxiety. For most pet owners, it is not a reality, therefore using exercise to tire out your pet and strengthen your bond is frequently a simple solution!

It can be beneficial to take your dog for a long walk or game of ball before you leave because nervousness can result in excessive activity. It’s also a good idea to chat to them and make lots of physical touch with them during this time. Additionally, exercise can help reduce stress by releasing calming endorphins, just like its human counterpart.

What behave dogs under stress?

  • Dogs use their body language and warning signs to let people know they are stressed out.
  • Barking, growling, and pacing are all indications that your dog may be under stress.
  • To reduce future stress, dog owners should become familiar with the warning signs and triggers that their pets exhibit.

We frequently hear that a dog suddenly bit someone. Dogs rarely bite without provocation, it is a fact.

Dogs largely use body language to communicate, thus it’s crucial for people to comprehend what they are trying to convey. Learning our dogs’ unique communication methods can help to ease their discomfort and avert potentially dangerous situations. To determine whether your dog is stressed, there are a number of warning signals to watch for.


If your dog is uneasy, you can know right away by listening for growls. It might imply that they feel threatened, that someone is invading their personal space, or that they are in pain. It’s normally not meant to be hostile, but it’s frequently a sign that your dog is uneasy.

Many owners make an effort to stop their dog from snarling. However, if a dog is punished for it, they can be more inclined to ignore further warnings and bite without hesitation. Avoid correcting your dog’s growling. Respect their personal space instead, or find another way to achieve what you want from them. For instance, if a dog is snarling at its food, give them room so they can eat quietly. Trade them for a lesser treat if they are snarling at a bone you need to put away so you can safely remove the bone.

Whining or Barking

When stressed, a lot of dogs can’t stop whining because it’s more of an instinctual reaction. For humans, it is a sign that something in the environment is worrying them. Similar to how puppies can’t always control their howling, when they bark, they are trying to communicate their worry to you. However, depending on the situation, as dogs might whine and bark for a variety of other causes.

Body Language

Whole volumes have been published about the body language of dogs, and “Turid Rugaas, a dog trainer from Norway, coined the phrase “calming signals.” Rugaas came to the realization that dogs had more than 30 techniques to attempt to avoid stressful circumstances. Puppies who engage in these actions are attempting to mediate a conflict or to assure you or another dog that they are not a danger.

The following behaviors are indications of stress: lip-licking, yawning, panting, raised hackles, tucked ears, tucked tail, and whale eye (when canines show the whites of their eyes). Your dog may also glance away or avoid making eye contact. The most typical instance of this is when a dog feels “guilty. The dog, however, is actually responding to your tone of voice and nonverbal cues and believes something is wrong.

Avoid relying primarily on nonverbal cues. Additionally, not always when they are scared or anxious, some dogs will raise their hackles when they are overstimulated or excited.


Your dog is frequently anxious about something they notice if they freeze or become rigid. This can occasionally be interpreted as “submission” in a training situation, however current dog training methods inform us that the dog is actually shutting down. Both you and your dog may be in serious risk if you do this. The dog may bite as the following step if they are too agitated to handle the situation, which is a warning indication.


Pacing back and forth is a symptom that something is stressing out a dog and making it difficult for them to relax. It might not be a significant concern if this just occurs around mealtimes or for brief periods of time. However, observing when your dog exhibits this behavior might help you figure out what is making them anxious.

Pacing might be a sign of dementia in senior dogs. Consult your veterinarian straight away if you start to notice this in your senior pet.

Note that despite all of these indications, the specific dog and the circumstances at hand always come into play. For instance, some dogs “speak while playing” or snarl. It can indicate that they need a break from their excitement or it might just be the way they play. Knowing whether your dog is stressed out is essential. Always consult a qualified dog trainer if you have any questions. If your dog’s behavior changes abruptly, you might also think about visiting your veterinarian.

How To Calm A Stressed Dog Down

Owners of dogs should examine their own actions to see whether they may be adding to the stress. Owners can stress out their dogs by failing to give clear instructions, glaring at them directly, or punishing them excessively.

Finding the source of your dog’s tension and removing it is the best method to calm them down. Alternately, work with your veterinarian or a professional trainer to lessen their reaction to the trigger.

Sometimes all it takes is enclosing a space where your dog can eat without being bothered. Alternately, you may instruct them on how to properly appreciate your dog. If you are aware that your dog becomes anxious around certain situations, such as a vehicle journey or Fourth of July fireworks, there are some particular steps you may take to reduce their nervousness.

The final word? You can quickly understand your dog’s stress signals and calm them down by paying attention to their body language.

Canine Body Language

Dogs largely use their body language to express their needs, wants, happiness, and fear. Are you prepared to understand what your dog is trying to say? For more information, download this e-book.

How does anxiety in dogs manifest?

Dog anxiety is quite similar to human anxiety. A dog’s behavior is one of the most challenging ways that nervousness can manifest itself. Your stressed dog could get hostile, bark excessively, growl, or even bite. If it feels threatened, it might do the exact opposite and hide and flee. Your dog may have accidents inside the house, chew objects, and dig in the yard.

If you don’t aware that these actions point to stress, you can get upset with your dog when you notice them. That is typical. However, if the dog is acting out because it is already worried, getting in trouble and receiving attention will just make the situation worse. This can actually make the behavior worse rather than better!

Numerous health issues in dogs can result from prolonged stress. Anxiety exerts strain on the organs, including the heart, much as it does in humans. Additionally, if the dog’s owner is sad, it may feel isolated and alone and lack the necessary assistance to overcome its nervousness.

Which dog breeds experience anxiety the most?

Please take note that “An all-encompassing term, anxiousness, is employed for convenience’s sake. Animal behaviorists employ the term “Concerning canine behavioral issues, words like fear, anxiety, and stress are often used. See our article on dog anxiety for more details on stress, anxiety, and fear.

Which Dog Breeds Are Most Prone To Anxiety?

While anxiety can occur in any dog breed, it can occur more frequently in some breeds, including lagotto romagnolos, wheaten terriers, and Spanish water dogs. 1 When they learn that dogs may feel anxious, many people are shocked. Dogs, like people, have complicated emotional lives, and they may respond to stimuli in a variety of ways. And just like people might become uneasy in certain situations, so can dogs.

Anxiety in dogs is brought on by a number of environmental factors rather than a single cause.

Your dog may display anxious behavior if they are of a certain breed or if anxiety runs in the family.

Age, trauma, lack of socialization, genetics, breed predisposition, and genetics are just a few of the causes that might make a dog anxious. Finding a solution to your dog’s anxiety is crucial if you want them to enjoy a happy and healthy life, no matter what is causing it. It’s important to know if your dog is of a high-risk breed because the first step in seeking quality therapy is learning how to recognize indications of anxiety.

Although all dogs can suffer anxiety under stressful conditions, the prevalence of anxiety in different breeds can vary dramatically. The following list includes some breeds that are more prone to anxiety as well as details on the symptoms they are more likely to display.

Lagotto Romagnolos

A fluffy poodle-like breed of dog called a lagotto romagnolo is among the most anxious. For instance, they are more likely to experience a high rate of thunderphobia2, which is a typical anxiety trigger for many dogs of all breeds. In addition, other noises like loud traffic, gunfire, or even loud music may cause them discomfort.

Wheaten Terriers

Among the dogs with the greatest risk of experiencing noise sensitivity anxiety were wheaten terriers2. It’s a good idea to create adjustments for the dog, as recommended by a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist, if you are thinking about adopting a wheaten terrier or you already have one. This will ensure that the dog is properly socialized with noises from a young age. They are more prone to exhibit signs like barking and panting if they are exposed to loud noises on a regular basis.

Spanish Water Dogs

The faithful and dedicated Spanish water dogs are susceptible to anxiety-related disorders. Spanish water dogs are more likely to experience fear or anxiety in response to environmental stimuli. Often, strangers serve as that stimulus. According to the above-mentioned study, Spanish water dogs are the breed most prone to display a fear of strangers in Finland. Tail chasing and fly-snapping in this breed are less frequent indications of nervousness.

Shetland Sheepdogs

Shetland sheepdogs have stranger phobia, just like Spanish water dogs do. This can be lessened with the right training and medication, but if you’re thinking about getting a Shetland sheepdog and you know you’re going to meet strangers frequently or have visitors often, it’s important to be aware of this tendency so you can socialize your dog early on and treat this fear appropriately with your veterinarian for the best long-term outcome.

Miniature Schnauzers

Among the most violent dog breeds are miniature schnauzers. Miniature schnauzers are more likely than other breeds to become aggressive toward strangers when they are exposed to anxiety-inducing stimuli like loud noises, new canines, or strangers. Compared to other breeds, they may also be at a higher risk of experiencing separation anxiety.

Mixed-Breed Dogs

While mixed-breed dogs are frequently praised for having less health issues overall than purebreds, they are the breed that is most frequently classified as anxious in studies4. This might not be the case because mixed-breed animals are more prone to anxiety than pure-bred animals. It might simply be the case that mixed breeds predominate over pure breeds in all of these investigations.

All Dogs Can Have Anxiety

It’s critical to understand whether your dog is prone to anxiety. It’s crucial to understand, though, that just because your dog belongs to one of the aforementioned anxiety-prone dog breeds, doesn’t imply it will inevitably experience anxiety issues. Additionally, it doesn’t imply that just because your dog isn’t one of the aforementioned breeds, it won’t experience anxiety. The same study discovered that up to 72.5% of dogs experience anxiety as a result of some stimuli. 1

Among the most frequent causes were:

  • 32% of dogs had at least one trigger for their noise sensitivity.
  • To strangers or other unfamiliar triggers, 29% of people displayed a high fear response.
  • A fear of heights or other unlevel surfaces affected 24% of people.
  • 20% of those activated were distracted.
  • 17% of respondents repeated actions, frequently when left alone.
  • 16% exhibited impulsivity or hyperactivity.
  • 14% exhibited aggression.
  • 5% of people had symptoms of separation anxiety.

The lesson? No matter what breed of dog you acquire, it’s crucial that you keep an eye out for anxious behavior. It’s essential to be aware of if your dog is prone to having anxious behaviors. Simply put, probabilities are simply that. It’s important to keep in mind that events still occur 1 in 20 times when they have a 5% chance of happening. This implies that symptoms may still be present in dogs with lower levels of anxiety.

We’ll then look at some of the most typical warning signs and symptoms that your dog may exhibit if they have an anxiety issue.

Signs Your Dog Has Anxiety

Before you can cure your dog’s anxiety, you must first be able to identify the symptoms and signs of anxiety in your dog. Knowing what to look for is essential because there are many different ways that anxiety in dogs can manifest itself. The following are some of the more typical signs to watch out for:

  • Drooling and excessive panting: An anxious dog may drool and pant excessively due to stress from being left alone, the presence of new canines in the neighborhood, or other triggers.
  • Straight or circular pacing: Some stressed dogs may habitually pace throughout the house in either a round or a linear fashion.
  • attempting to flee: If your dog has canine anxiety, he or she can try to leave the stressful situation, which could be your house. They might try to break windows or doors by chewing on them or digging around in them, hurting themselves in the process.
  • An worried dog may frequently howl, bark, and whine in an effort to find or get in touch with their family. Constant howling or barking.
  • Even if they are trained to use the bathroom outside, anxious dogs may nevertheless urine or defecate indoors when one of their triggers occurs. They may even get canine diarrhea.
  • Destructive behavior: Some stressed dogs exhibit destructive behaviors like gnawing, digging, and scratching. There will be chewing and scratching on door frames, window sills, doors, and other home furnishings.

These symptoms can be warning indicators for other illnesses and disorders in addition to anxiety. Before diagnosing and treating your dog for anxiety, it’s important to keep an eye out for any further symptoms.

Above all, seek a veterinarian’s advice for an accurate diagnosis and treatment of your dog’s anxiety symptoms. As many illnesses are treatable, it’s crucial to find a treatment strategy that works for your particular dog because every breed and every dog is different.