dog

10 Alarming Signs Of Dog Stress That Every Owner Should Know

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

The best part about dog ownership is being welcomed home by a tail that’s wagging a million miles per hour.

Dogs have a way of helping us relax and forget the stresses of the day. With that said, have you ever thought about whether your dog is feeling stressed?

We know how unpleasant feeling on edge can be. It’s the last thing we’d want for our furry friends. Of course, unlike people, dogs can’t verbally communicate their stress. Instead, their emotions manifest in their bodily functions and behaviors.

Some of the signs of dog stress may not even seem all that unusual compared to how they act on a normal day. Yet even though they can be subtle, Psychology Today reports that fear and anxiety can shorten canine lives the same as they do for humans.

To help make sure your pup lives the longest, healthiest life possible, learn some of the signs of dog stress.

Photos: Laura Caseley For LittleThings; Wikimedia Commons / Finch 

1. Wide Eyes

1. Wide Eyes
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

It is normal to be able to see a little bit of the whites of your dog’s eyes.

However, have you ever noticed that there is so much white visible that your dog looks startled?

He looks that way because he probably is. VCA Hospitals explains that dilated pupils and rapid blinking are also signs of canine stress.

2. Laid Back Ears

2. Laid Back Ears
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

What your dog’s ears look like when he’s happy depends on a number of things, especially their breed.

However, VCA Hospitals points out that laid-back ears are a sign of submission and anxiety in dogs.

3. Erect Whiskers

3. Erect Whiskers
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

Sometimes you may not even notice your dog’s whiskers. However, when they’re stressed, whiskers might be the only thing you can see.

Most of the time, a dog’s whiskers are fairly relaxed. However, erect whiskers are a sign that a dog is especially alert — and likely worried about something, according to Abbotsford Animal Hospital.

4. Licking Their Privates

4. Licking Their Privates
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

As much as you love your dog, listening to them lick their private parts is always uncomfortable.

He may just be trying to keep himself clean, but it could also be a sign that he is trying to distract himself from something stressful.

VCA Hospitals explains that behaviors such as genital licking, sniffing the ground, and turning away are all examples of avoidance and escaping behavior.

5. Tail Between Legs

5. Tail Between Legs
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

Most of us know that a wagging tail means your dog is happy and excited.

On the other hand, a tail between the legs indicates that he is scared or anxious. The next time your dog seems like he might be stressed, take a look at his tail.

6. Visible Teeth

6. Visible Teeth
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

We all know that a growling dog isn’t a happy dog, but showing their teeth at all is a sign that something is wrong.

Abbotsford Animal Hospital confirms that pulled back lips are a sign that your dog is getting ready to growl or snarl.

He may not make it as far as a growl, but the fact that he is preparing indicates something is wrong.

7. Excessive Out-Of-Season Shedding

7. Excessive Out-Of-Season Shedding
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

If your dog is a shedder, you’ll know what times of year to expect your house to be covered in fur.

However, it’s a different story if your dog is shedding during an unusual time.

VCA Hospitals explains that nervous dogs often “blow their coat.” The same can be said for your dog if he is stressed.

8. Yawning

8. Yawning
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

Watching your dog yawn is usually adorable. Of course, the occasional yawn is nothing to worry about.

However, VCA Hospitals explains that an especially prolonged yawn may indicate stress rather than boredom or sleepiness.

9. Random Panting

9. Random Panting
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

You can expect your dog to pant when it’s hot out or when they’re being active.

VCA Hospitals points out that your dog might even pant when he is excited. However, this random panting could also be an indication that your dog is overwhelmed.

10. Destructive Behavior

10. Destructive Behavior
Laura Caseley For LittleThings

The way your dog behaves says a lot about what’s going on in their head.

If your dog is usually relaxed and well behaved, you can guess that there is something wrong when he begins to tear the house apart.

On that same note, Abbotsford Animal Hospital mentions acting goofy or hyper without proper context may be a red flag as well.

Be sure to SHARE this information with someone you know with a dog!