Dog Stress

Yes, dog stress indeed! It would surprise you to know how many people have stressed out dogs. Can that be right? Dogs have an easy life don't they? Well yes, some do and some don't! Dogs are like people. Something that bothers me, might not bother you. Each dog is an unique individual in his own right.

Is your dog behaving in ways that indicate he's stressed or worried about something? Is your dog experiencing a health problem with symptoms that are hard to resolve? No matter the cause, your dog's stress can have a huge impact on his health.

Common Causes of Dog Stress

The list of things that could potentially cause stress for your dog is endless. Here are some of the reasons I have heard from people who contact me for help. Causes on this list can be subcategorized as situational anxiety ( happens occasionally ), chronic stress ( all day, every day ) and some stressful circumstances require a raised awareness level by the pet owner in order to relieve the dog's stress.

  • dealing with and recovering from a dog health problem. Illness is stressful for everyone in the household ( chronic ).
  • frightening, loud unusual noises such as thunder, fireworks, motorcycles, gunshots, backfiring trucks ( situational )
  • getting into and travelling in the car ( situational )
  • going to the vet, dog groomer ( situational )
  • staying alone in the house causing separation anxiety ( chronic )
  • lack of exercise and boredom causes dog anxiety ( chronic )
  • intact dogs not given an opportunity to mate ( chronic/situational )
  • unusually smooth floor surfaces, hardword/tile and stairs ( situational )
  • harsh training practices, excessive punishment and command confusion ( human awareness required )
  • multiple animal households where pets do not get along ( chronic )
  • toxic human relationships, violence/abuse and arguing ( human awareness required )
  • little children who have not been taught to respect animals ( human awareness required )
  • being chained outside alone for hours and hours with no means of escape ( human awareness required )
  • busy, noisy, dirty, rescue shelter environments ( chronic )
  • kenneling for punishment ( human awareness required )
  • excessive worrying about the dog ( human awareness required )
  • disrespectful of the canine species/excessive humanizing ( human awareness required )

Many other causes of dog stress are possible of course, but all of these reasons are controlled by humans. We can fix it, or we can make it worse, depending on how we choose to see the circumstances. Are you thinking about your dog, or are you thinking about yourself. Whose needs are being met? Yours or the dog?

Dog Stress Influencers
You Might Not Have Thought About

Here are some other things you might be forgetting. From my holistic heath perspective and the information given to me by people who contact me for help, I can assure you that these things also cause much stress for dogs and should not be swept under the rug. Here are the top four things that influence the health of dogs and cause stress.

  1. Diet and inappropriate feeding ( internal stress on organ systems over time )
  2. Drugs such as antibiotics, immune suppressing steroids and NSAIDs ) Non Steroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs ) ( internal stress on organ systems manifesting in outward external symptoms )
  3. Vaccines  ( internal stress on organ systems manifesting in outward external symptoms )
  4. Pesticides for flea/tick/heartworm control ( excessive toxicity creating internal stress on organ systems )

Stress is # 5 On This List
Top Dog Health Influencers

I coach people who have sick dogs, so I see alot of stressed out dogs and stressed out people. Some dog health problems such as dog allergies or yeast infections can drive the whole household insane and cause stress beyond belief.

The awful physical symptoms the dog is experiencing causes huge stress for the dog, and the up/down emotional roller coaster experienced by the dog's people sends the whole household spiraling downward. Nobody knows what to do about it!

When the body is under stress, your dog's adrenal glands secrete  the ' flight or fright ' steroid hormone called cortisol. Yes, your dog's body makes it's own steroid! This is fine occasionally when it happens in short bursts.

For example, if your dog starts a barking frenzy when someone comes to the door, his adrenal glands will secrete some cortisol until your dog decides whether the person at the door is a burglar or a friend. His choices are:

  • do battle with the intruder ( fight )
  • run away from the intruder ( flight )
  • avoid the intruder and go back to the couch

However, when your dog's body is under constant stress every day from:

  • a chronic health problem
  • a circumstance under which he has no control
  • or his body is assaulted by toxic chemicals and pesticides, drugs and vaccines

...that chronic long term stress causes chemical changes in the body and places excessive stress on the adrenal glands over the course of time. Your dog's body does not distinguish between reasonable dog stress and chronic stress. It doesn't matter what kind of stress it is. Stress is stress. This paves the path for other serious dog health concerns

Learn more about cortisol, dog stress and the adrenal glands here.

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