Our lives are busy, and our routines change often. Changes such as working varying hours, moving houses, going on holidays or having new people in the house, can affect your dog. Dogs are creatures of habit, and they may react adversely to changes from their normal routine. This is particularly true if the change is also affecting you- dogs take cues from your body language and be impacted by your emotional state.
Here’s how to tell if your dog is stressed:
1. They are shedding more fur than normal
Excessive shedding is an easy-to-spot clue that your dog is stressed. If they live indoors, this will be particularly easy to notice. The shedding will resemble a typical summer shed, sometimes with even more fur.
2. They are panting, even without exercising
If your dog is panting, without having done any physical activity, this is a giveaway sign that they are feeling anxious or stressed. They may do this in combination with other unusual mouth movements such as yawning and licking their lips.
3. They have a different energy level
Dogs react to stressful situations differently. Some may become higher energy, pace up and down, and follow you around. Others may become drastically quieter, and stay in their bed or in one spot, without moving much. A dramatic energy level change of any kind is a watch-out that your dog may be stressed.
4. Their appetite changes
As with energy levels, a dog’s appetite may change as a reaction to stress, and do so differently depending on the dog. Some dogs will lose appetite completely and refuse to eat. Others may chuff down food quicker than they normally would. As with energy levels, any drastic change could be a sign of stress.
5. Their ears are pinned back, and their tail is tucked or wagging slowly
Tell-tale body language giveaways that your dog is stressed are ears that are pinned back to their head, and sometimes a very slow tail wag (as opposed to an excited fast wag). In extreme cases, the dog might have their tail fully tucked underneath their body or even be trembling.
If you see any of these signs, try to solve the root cause of why is your dog stressed, and take actions to make the new circumstances feel more like their normal routine. If you are worried, as always, take them straight to the vet.