Impact of Stress on Dog Health

Stress is a silent killer not just for humans but also for dogs and other animals. The impact of stress on dog health is detrimental, and it can be fatal if left unnoticed and untreated. As a responsible pet owner, you must know why dogs feel stress, its impact on their health, and how to ease your pup from stress.

Let's take a look at different reasons for stress and the impact of stress on dog health.

Reason for stress in dogs:

  1. Apprehensive noises
  2. Isolation from their companion pets or their owner
  3. Changes in home decor and setting
  4. New pets in the home or change in owner

Signs of stress in dogs

  • Panting without physical activity
  • Excess or loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Cowering
  • Abnormal yawning
  • Ignoring commands
  • Trembling
  • No interest in routine activities

Impact of stress on dog health:

1-Adaptive, and behavioral changes:

Anxiety in dogs surges the likelihood to obsessive behaviors like licking, chewing, and eating non-edible items. Overreacting, growling, snapping, jumping, trembling, and biting are not rare in stressed and anxious dogs. Depressive dogs can't respond to fight and flight situations to defend themselves in case of any emergency. Loss of sleep is another problem faced by stressed dogs.

2-Poor digestive system

Like humans, stress has distressing impact on dog health and causes poor digestion. This is mostly evident in the form of vomiting and flatulence and rarely in the form of diarrhea. Dog's body responds to stress and fear by the release of adrenaline. It, in turn, leads to low blood flow to the stomach and intestine, which results in poor digestion and absorption of food.

3-Cardiovascular problems

Dogs can suffer from cardiovascular problems due to stress. Anxiety can trigger the contraction of cardiac walls leading to excess blood flow in arteries, resulting in heart failure if left uncontrolled.

4-Weak immune system and slow healing

Dogs respond to stress by releasing cortisol which can change the blood flow. Excess cortisol affects the immune system and has an anti-healing impact on the dog's body. A weakened immune system means inviting a lot of other diseases as a dog can't fight disease without a strong immune system. Stress can also result in the slow healing of wounds as it suppresses the regeneration of tissues responsible for healing of injuries.

5-Loss of appetite:

Stressed dogs suffer from appetite loss and weight loss due to less supply of calories in the body. Low calories result in lethargy and loss of interest in routine activities. Research has shown that chronic appetite loss shortens the life span of dogs.

Help your dog to curb the impact of stress on the dog health

Medication is not a permanent solution for stress and anxiety in dogs. You should try to work more on behavioral modification of your dog. You can take the following preventive measures to help your dog against stress.

  • Increase playful activities
  • Try not to change environment
  • Massage can help relieve stress of dogs
  • Avoid leaving your dog alone
  • Provide your dog with a danger-free and noise-free environment
  • You can use Adaptil- a calming pheromone if needed

1 comment

  • Very good read, very informative and helpful!


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