Dogs are a lot more similar to humans than we think. Pet owners usually think that they should only look out for their dog’s physical well-being, but the mental state of the pet will affect their overall well-being — it plays a huge part in how they live their lives.
There are a number of possibilities as to why your dog could be behaving a certain way, more often than not it can be attributed to a mental health disorder. Like humans, dogs experience stress, anxiety, and depression.
As a responsible dog owner, it helps when you know how to tell signs of stress in dogs. That is a start for you to be able to help them ease it in any kind of way. How?
Observe and Learn to Spot Signs of Distress
There are multiple factors as to why they could be behaving a different way, try to track down any kind of change and pinpoint what is causing the uneasiness. Observe their body language and how they are responding to you.
If your dog is showing any signs of whale eye (revealing the whites of their eyes), tucked ears and/or tail, constant licking and yawning, and panting — it could be that your dog might be showing signs that there is something wrong.
Other signs are alarmingly decreased appetite, isolation (constantly distancing from humans or other pets), hiding, trembling, destructive behavior, and aggression towards strangers.
Exercise and Mental Enrichment
When dogs don’t get to release their pent-up energy and are not living active lifestyles it could lead to anxiety and destructive behaviors. Making sure that they get proper exercise like daily walks or being able to freely run around in an open space and letting them play with toy puzzles will help give them mental stimulation.
Creating a Safe Zone and Giving Them Space
Giving your dog their own safe space will allow them to feel more secure, as well as providing them with a “safety blanket” in the form of a toy or a bed they can retreat to during times of distress.
Another thing to note is that too much attention could lead to more anxiety and can cause them to be too attached which could also lead to separation anxiety.
Regular Visit to the Vet
It’s always best to have a professional to consult regarding health concerns for your dog. A chat with an expert will help pinpoint the reasons for your concern and will help solve them. You will have peace of mind that your dog’s concerns are being addressed and taken care of.
Dogs, unlike humans, are unable to fully communicate their needs, but it is your responsibility as their partner to be able to get them through these tough moments in their lives.
Keeping paw-sitive and educated on these matters will help you know how to keep your dog healthy, mentally and physically!
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet’s health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.