Stress in dogs should not be taken lightly. If you have ever seen a dog bite out of ‘nowhere’, it is an indication that something is wrong. The truth is, dogs do not bite out of anywhere and without any warning.
Dogs can’t speak, and we can’t decipher what they are saying. Hence, they communicate with human beings through their body language. Often, with their body language, they are trying to tell us that something is not quite right. So, it is important for us to pick up these hints and pay attention to our canines, with their body language, they may be trying to communicate with you.
One of the common things we need to be on the lookout for in regards to our pets is ‘stress’. If your pet is stressed it is going to seriously impact everything. They will have a change in habits, behavior, and eating schedule. There are little things that stress dogs out. For instance, a change in routine, different foods, new people, and new environments can easily make your dog anxious. But, did you know that in everyday lives, common household noises can also impact them cognitively?
How household things stress dogs out
According to researchers, you may be stressing your dog out with everyday noises. Sounds like a vacuum or the ding of the microwave oven can seriously impact your dog. Similarly, doorbells can also cause your dog to feel stressed out. Sounds with relatively high frequency can impact your dog, less than low-frequency noise that is continuous.
There are dogs that are more sensitive to such sounds than others, hence, owners do not take notice of their dog’s stressed mental state, because they consider these voices normal and do not read body language.
The common signs of anxiety include:
But, there are not the only signs. Chances are, owners are not able to pinpoint signs of anxiety and fear when the behaviors are subtle. Such signs include
- Stiff or rigid body
- Turning their head away
- Turning ears back
- Licking lips
Since these signs aren’t noticeable or out of the ordinary, owners do not associate them as a sign that something might be wrong.
In a study, a survey on 386 dogs was conducted. In this survey, the response dogs showed to everyday sounds they may hear around the house. From this, it was concluded that owners do not fully understand the fear instilled inside canines. Some find these ‘peculiar’ reactions to being amusing. Prolonged stress can cause medical complications. So, it is essential for owners to identify the minute sounds that may irk their dog and take the necessary steps to minimize them.
Can sounds be painful?
As dogs have an enhanced range of hearing, there are some noises that can be painful to them. Yes, physically painful! These sounds are those with high frequency or are very loud. You need to be careful that there is no spontaneous sound that may irritate your dog.
Like, changing batteries in smoke detectors on time, so they don’t beep. Or, removing your dog from rooms where they may be exposed to unpleasantly loud noises.
Rather than speaking, howling or vocalizing in other ways, dogs use their body language to communicate, and as owners, we need to take notice of it. As caretakers and their companions, we are given the duty of taking the necessary steps to reduce their anxiety.
What are the signs of stress?
There isn’t a single sign that your dog is under mental pressure. So, it can be a bit tricky to pinpoint when your dog is feeling this certain way. The most commonly shown ‘signs’ by dogs when they are in a vulnerable state of mind are given below.
Growling is the biggest indication that something is off. Your dog tells you that it is uncomfortable through growling. It could mean that someone is in their personal space and they shouldn’t be. It could also mean they are hurt or feel scared. Growling is not always a sign of aggression.
Whining is out of a dog’s control when it is stressed. It is sort of an automatic response that they have no control over. When your dog is whining, be sure to check its surroundings to see if there is something that is making them feel that way. Similarly, when a puppy barks, it is trying to tell you that something is off. But it also depends on the context as dogs can bark for other reasons.
The main way that dogs communicate is through body language. There are books written on body language by experts. In one of these books, specialists saw that dogs have over thirty ways in which they avoid a situation that is stressful. These are given below:
- Whale eye or when dogs reveal the whites of their eyes
- Raised hackles
- Tucked tail
- Tucked ears
- Avoiding eye contact
- Pacing back and forth
Coming to the last sign, ‘pacing’ means that your dog is unable to stay in one place because of something stressing them out. If this happens when it is time for their meal or for fewer amounts of time, it doesn’t mean a big deal. However, if it is happening continuously, then it is a matter of concern.
To calm a stressed dog down, you need to first identify factors that are adding load to their mental health, and then eliminate the said factors.
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