9 Signs Your Dog is Stressed

dog hides under coffee table

Just as we can feel stressed and anxious at times, so can our dogs. It’s never fun when your dog isn’t feeling their best. But, if you can pick up on what’s going on with them and why it’s happening, you can help them feel better. Here are a few signs your dog is stressed:

1. Your Dog is Pacing

There are many reasons why dogs pace, but pacing is one of the common signs your dog is stressed. They could be pacing because they are bored or they could be anxious.

Pacing back and forth can also be one of the signs your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, needs to go to the bathroom, or isn’t feeling well.

Regardless of the specific reason, pacing is a stress response to that reason. So, if you see your dog pacing, you should pay attention and work to figure out why they’re doing it.

2. They Are Vocalizing More Than Usual

You know your dog and you can probably tell a happy bark or excited whine from a distressed whine or bark. One of the signs that your dog is stressed is if they are vocalizing more than usual, especially whining or barking. Sometimes, your dog is attempting to get your attention by doing this. It can also be an attempt to relax and soothe themselves.

3. Your Dog is Drooling Excessively

There are many reasons why dogs drool. When your dog is drooling more than usual, it’s usually a response to something and can often be a sign of stress. Some dogs drool when they are excited and also when they are nervous, anxious, or stressed.

Excessive drooling can also indicate a medical issue. So, if you can’t pinpoint an obvious cause, it’s important to call the vet. If drooling coincides with some other symptoms of bloat in dogs, make sure you get to the vet immediately.

4. They Are Licking A Lot

When a dog is licking their paws, their leg, a toy, etc. excessively, they are often attempting to soothe themselves. In this way, licking a lot can be one of the signs your dog is stressed.

It can also be one of the signs your dog is in pain. So, if your dog is licking more than usual, pay attention to what/where they are licking and try to figure out why they are exhibiting this behavior.

5. Your Dog is Yawning Intensely

Yawns can mean a lot of different things in dogs. Some of the reasons why dogs yawn include stress, boredom, indifference, and more. A stressed yawn is usually longer and more intense than a sleepy yawn. If you see your dog yawning intensely and more often than usual, take a closer look at what’s going on with them and around them, and also check for other signs of distress

6. They Are Showing Stressed Out Body Language

Dogs show us how they’re feeling in a lot of ways including various types of dog body language. Being able to pay attention to and decipher your dog’s body language can be a big help in determining how they’re feeling.

A dog that is feeling stressed out may show a fearful or aggressive body posture. On the fearful side, this could be freezing up while tense, frantically trying to escape, lowering their heads and/or tucking in their tails. If they are extremely stressed and afraid, they may urinate or defecate.

On the aggressive side, their body posture will be tense and will try to look as large as possible. If they are taking an aggressive posture, they will usually exhibit other aggressive signals as well like growling, showing their teeth, and more.

Dilated pupils or widened eyes can also indicate a stressed-out dog. This, especially when paired with flattened ears, yawning and licking, and the posture, can be one of the signs your dog is stressed.

7. Your Dog is Shedding More Than Normal

As with other potential stress signals on this list, there are many reasons why dogs shed. If they are shedding more than normal, it could be a sign of stress or anxiety. You’ll know what level of shedding is normal for your dog throughout the year, so if the amount of shedding is unusual and cannot be explained by abnormal weather, your dog could be stressed.

8. They May Start Panting

Dogs pant to cool off and regulate their temperature. They also pant when they are excited and when they are stressed. If your dog starts panting a lot and you are able to rule out the normal reasons, they could be feeling stressed.

9. Your Dog Behaves Abnormally

Sudden and abnormal changes in behavior can mean a lot of things in dogs. They could be feeling sick, they could be in pain, they could be stressed out, and more. If your dog is suddenly refusing food, it’s likely they are experiencing stress in some way. Pay attention and if they continue not eating, contact your vet for a visit.

Indifferent or avoidant behavior can also be a sign of stress or discomfort. Also, a dog that is hiding or trying to escape may be doing so in response to a stressful situation or feeling anxiety. This could also result in circling, slinking behind something to hide, digging to escape, and more.

These are just a few signs your dog is stressed. A lot of these are things your dog may do normally. Generally, the key is that the behavior is not something your dog normally does. Some of these things can overlap with health issues or could be related to your dog’s environment.

Once you recognize that your dog is feeling stressed, then you can focus on why they are stressed out and help them get back to feeling calmer and more relaxed. When in doubt, visit the vet. They’ll be able to help you figure out what is going on with your dog and what to do next.