Signs of a Stressed Dog and How to Help Them

Disclosure: Our recommendations are based on our testing, research and analysis. We may earn a commission on products purchased using links on this page.

Like people, dogs can get stressed out. If the stress is not alleviated, it could affect your dog’s health and the quality of their life.

Dogs can suffer from some of the same emotional issues as people. Like people, dogs can get stressed out. If the stress is not alleviated, it could affect your dog’s health and the quality of their life.

While some stress factors are not in your control, others are, so you need to know the signs and symptoms of a pet suffering from stress and what you can do to improve your pet’s wellbeing.

The Harm Stress does to your Dog.

While you may feel you over-indulge your pet and he shouldn’t have a care in the world, it’s important to know that a dog’s stress factors are very different from a human’s. Research shows that too much stress can reduce a dog’s life. Living with fear and or an anxiety disorder will definitely harm your dog’s health.

Stress is harmful to dogs because when your dog is suffering from a stressful situation, his body will release an excess of the fight or flight hormone called norepinephrine. This, in turn, will harm gut bacteria and reduce the mobility of the GI tract. Your dog will suffer from diarrhea, which adds to the stress, especially if he has an accident. Stress may be a single occurrence, but chronic stress will be a problem.

The better you understand what may trigger a dog’s stress and know the signs of dog stress, the better you will be prepared to identify these signs and help eliminate the causes.

Aside from helping your dogs, you can also discover some tips about dog affiliate marketing.






Common Signs of Stress in Dogs

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association produced a manual for canine behavior. This manual outlines the 10 most common stress signs for dogs.

  •  Yawning
    • Panting
    • Nose or lip licking
    • Reduced appetite or no appetite
    • Diarrhea
    • Tail lower than usual or tucked in
    • Ears pinned or pulled back
    • A crouched body posture, cowering or hiding
    • Shaking or trembling
    • An increase in whining, barking, or howling

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, especially if they have not been present in the past, they indicate that your dog is suffering from anxiety and stress. The next step is to review what may be causing the stress.

Most Common Triggers of Stress for Dogs

  1. Entering new situations and meeting new people or animals may stress our dog. Perhaps you acquired a new family pet, just had a baby, or someone new is now living in your home. Novelty may not be a dog’s best friend; it may be why he is stressed.






  1. A prevalent source of stress for some dogs is loud noises. This is one of the most obvious stressors, as you can see the dog react immediately when there are loud noises such as thunderstorms or fireworks. Some dogs also get stressed from the noises of household appliances like vacuum cleaners or garbage disposals. Some vacuum cleaners for pet hairare designed to be quieter than normal with the hopes of not disturbing your dog as much.
  2. If you have recently moved to a new home, this may be stressful for your dog. Any change in environments such as dog daycare, or boarding, can be a stress factor.
  3. Changes in household routines can take their toll on your pet. If you are working new hours and have kids going back to school after the holidays, stress can be triggered. A change in a routine because of the holidays may cause your dog anxiety.
  4. If you have begun a new training system that uses punitive punishment, this can cause stress for dogs. Us of shock collars, invisible fences, yelling, or hitting, may be very upsetting and stressful for certain breeds of dogs.
  5. Something as minor as the invasion of a dog’s personal space may trigger stress or anxiety in a dog. This may be a stress factor if a dog has constant disruptions when resting. If you have a small child constantly hugging and kissing or forcibly restraining your dog, this may be affecting your dog’s mental health.
  6. For more active breeds, a lack of an outlet for their normal instincts may be causing stress. If it’s in your dog’s nature to herd, run or retrieve and he does not have an outlet for those behaviors, this may be very stressful.


common triggers of stress for dogs

8. An obvious source of stress is the separation from family members. While some dogs are more independent and cope with a break from the family, others will become terribly stressed by this separation.

9. Pets are very intuitive. If you have a poor or strained relationship in your household, your dog may react to this negativity. Dogs are very aware of their owner’s emotions, and any negative relationship may cause him stress as well.

If you see signs of stress in your dog, review the items on this list to see if one of these might be the stress-causing factor. Some of these items can be avoided, and there are others that you might not have any control over. Even if the stress is unavoidable, there are things you can do to relieve your dog’s anxiety and make life better for him.

How to help a stressed dog

Here are some simple solutions to make life happier and healthier for your dog and ways to reduce stress in his life.

  • Make sure your pet gets uninterrupted sleep and gentle handling.
  • Use mental stimulation to exercise your dog’s mind and set boundaries.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone for long stretches.
  • Leave clothing with your scent with your dog when you are gone.
  • Try a treat-release toy when you are gone.
  • Try products for separation anxiety in his water or play soothing doggy music.
  • Play calming and soothing music to reduce loud noises.
  • Use thunder wraps or anxiety wraps if your dog responds well to pressure.
  • Massage techniques can help pets with anxiety.
  • Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can reduce anxiety in dogs.
  • Find a professional to assess and make recommendations for abused or adopted dogs.
How to help a stressed dog

More ways to help a stressed dog

In addition to the list above, there are a few more things you can do to help a dog who is stressed or anxious. We will also go into more detail on some of the points above.

Plenty of exercise

A dog needs plenty of exercise, which is especially true if they have separation anxiety. Physical activity and exercise is a way to calm and ease their mind. Did you know that anxiety can cause excess energy? For this reason, a long walk or a game of fetch can do wonders. It also creates beneficial endorphins and is a chance for you to bond with your pup.

Massage and physical contact

Massage and physical contact are also useful when your dog is in a stressful situation. The touch of a dog owner is soothing to a dog. Learning the early signs of anxiety and stress for your dog is good for getting ahead of this issue. If you notice them becoming stressed, take some time for some cuddles and attention.

Massage is also a good way to relax your pup. Start massaging at the neck and work in long strokes downward. Keep one hand still on the dog and use just one hand to massage them. Over time, you may even start noticing where your dog holds the most stress in its body.

Music therapy

We already mentioned that you could play calming and soothing music when there are loud noises that can stress your pup out. This can work at home or in the car when you travel. Research has even shown that dogs prefer classical music, and it works as a natural sedative.

Time out

Canine anxiety and stress-related symptoms are not considered bad dog behavior, but a simple time out may be what your furry friend needs to relax and calm down. Isolate your pet in a quiet space away from noise and distractions. This kind of comfort zone can help calm frayed nerves and lower your pet’s stress level.

Alternative therapies

In addition to all the ways we have already shared on how to help a stressed dog, there are some alternative therapies you can consider as a dog owner.

Rescue Remedy for Pets

Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic solution that can be used as a stress reliever for your dog. It reduces occasional animal stress and tension. All it takes is four drops orally when needed. The dosage needed when using Rescue Remedy does not depend on your dog’s weight; rather, it depends on the situation of stress your dog is experiencing.

In addition to the Rescue Remedy drops, you can also purchase a spray to be used for comfort and reassurance for your pup.


A ThunderCloud is a sound machine and essential oil diffuser that offers aromatherapy benefits and soothing sounds. There are 16 different sounds that can be used to soothe canine anxiety. The sound and heat settings are adjustable, and it also comes with a 30-day supply of ThunderEssence essential oils, including a blend of lavender, chamomile, and Egyptian geranium.


When learning how to help a stressed dog, pet owners need to understand the major signals and causes of canine stress that may be affecting your dog’s physical and mental health. If your dog seems stressed or anxious, try various solutions until you find a way to ease your dog’s stress and improve pet health.  

A happy dog will live longer, be healthier, and you and your family pet can share the love and special bond that brings joy into both of your lives.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Please give us feedback on this post:

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?