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Does Our Stress Affect Our Dogs?: Dog Stress Signals & How to Help

ElleVet Husky

One of the many things we love about dogs is their uncanny ability to sense how we feel. When you are feeling down, your dog somehow knows to comfort you. When you are happy, your dog is eager to play and share in the joy. It makes sense, then, that if you are feeling upset, your dog will sense it and feel stressed as well. In fact, one of the most common questions asked of veterinarians and behavioral specialists is, “why is my dog stressed and how can I help?” So, if you are noticing signals of stress in your dog, it may be that they are picking up on something at home. With COVID-19 and quarantining at home with pets, the level of stress is higher than usual for many people, and your dog is no exception.

If you feel that quarantining and COVID-19 fears are not the cause of stress in your dog, or they have a sudden unexplained increase in nervous behavior, there are other potential triggers to look out for. The most common stress-inducing events for pups are noise phobias, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, and separation issues. Noise phobias often get worse over time, as your pup’s fear reaction increases with each loud event. Unfortunately, dogs do not get used to noise and, instead, develop a stronger and stronger trigger response with each event.

An anxious red dog lying down and showing the signals of stress in a dog

If you’re wondering how to help your stressed dog with their noise phobia, CBD dog treats or CBD oil for pets has been shown to lessen the fear response. If administered prior to the triggering event, CBD could help improve your pet’s reaction and help decrease their fear of the event over time. ElleVet CBD+CBDA products are an extremely effective method for addressing both short term situational stress and generalized stress in dogs. However, if you’re extremely worried about how to help your stressed dog, call your veterinarian to make sure your pup isn’t suffering from an underlying health concern.

Visits to the veterinarian, car rides, kennel stays, grooming visits, or new people in the home are other common causes of stress in dogs. Joint discomfort or increasing cognitive issues can also induce signals of stress in senior dogs. If a family member is unusually upset about something, then your dog may be sensing this.

A small dog runs towards its owner’s feet

If a dog is uncomfortable or has had a very active day, they may show their discomfort in a way that looks a lot like stress. Panting, pacing, and an inability to settle down are all signs of discomfort and can look quite similar to signs of stress.

Figuring out how to help a dog stressed by separation anxiety can be really difficult for dogs and their owners. The long term effects of this daily stress can have a significant effect on your dog’s overall health, and over time, they can show their distress by engaging in destructive and aggressive behaviors. Separation is also a difficult issue to treat because the pet owner leaving can be a daily event. In addition, pet owners often feel stressed because they are worried about leaving their dog, and the dog will pick up on this feeling creating a negative feedback loop that will only increase signals of stress in the dog.

Leaving treats hidden around the house, setting out a long-lasting chew toy, or putting out some interactive toys to keep them stimulated can help your dog manage their boredom and stress. CBD calming dog treats can also help! ElleVet CBD+CBDA hemp products for dogs interact with the cannabinoid receptors in your dog’s brain and may help them to return to a more normal state without sedation.

Two owners hold their small dog as they work on how to help their stressed dog

If you’re searching for how to help your stressed dog in other ways, getting plenty of exercise can help both people and pets! A sudden increase in unusual behavior is a typical response to a major change in routine and exercise. If your dog is used to getting long walks a couple of times a day, having to suddenly stop to stay indoors can become a source of both stress and pent up energy. As with many people, a regular routine, exercise, and activities to alleviate boredom are extremely helpful in keeping your dog calm and stress-free.

Dogs are so sensitive to human emotion and to their environment — it makes sense that when their humans are stressed or their routines change, their behavior may change for the worse. Knowing as an owner how to keep your pet healthy, staying attuned to potential triggers, and educating yourself on the signals of stress in the dog can help you to help your pet stay stress-free and happy through COVID-19 and beyond.

Be Well From the ElleVet Sciences Team