How do I know if my dog is stressed out?


Stress in dogs can present in many ways, including barking, retreating, pacing, whining, tucked ears, panting, yawning, and licking lips.

Knowing the signs of canine stress is essential. You should pair these signs with the intimate knowledge of your dog (that only you possess) to determine whether your dog is anxious. Before reacting (scolding your dog, laughing at your dog, brushing off your dog’s behavior), take a moment to assess the situation. You’d be surprised how many pet parents misinterpret their dogs’ behavior.

scared dog with whale eye

I talked to veterinarian Catherine Barnette about this phenomenon and a recent related study. The study was published in Veterinary Science in November 2021 and looked at stress-related behaviors specific to dogs exposed to common household noises (smoke detectors, cell phone noises, thunderstorms, vacuum cleaners, dishwasher, fan, door knock, etc.) and owners’ responses. Dr. Barnette summarized the results, “Many dogs are fearful of strange sounds, but this study indicates that many owners fail to recognize that fear. In fact, some owners react to their dog’s fear with amusement instead of concern.”

If your dog is frequently anxious, there are things you can do to alleviate his or her tension. There are various medications and supplements on the market (check out The Daily Dog’s Calming Supplement Top Picks here), but it’s important to speak with your veterinarian before giving something to your pup.

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