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Signs of Stress in Dogs

July 15, 2017

Man’s Best Friend has been our friend and companions for thousands of years. While we’ve had time to get to know Fido pretty well, it can be easy to forget that dogs don’t think the way we do, and they don’t express things the way we do. One thing that can be easy for people to overlook or misinterpret is an indication of stress in dogs. Read on as a San Jose, CA vet lists some of the ways Fido may express anxiety.

Body Language

Dogs react to stress in different ways, so the physical signs of anxiety in dogs can be quite varied. Fido may look around anxiously, tuck his tail between his legs, or lick his lips. He may also sniff around frantically. Crouching, shivering, and dry panting can also be indications of stress in your four-legged buddy.


Barking can be another sign of stress. Fido may bark at something he isn’t sure of. Our canine friends also sometimes bark, whine, or howl because of anxiety, discomfort, or even loneliness. This is particularly common in dogs with separation anxiety. If your furry pal tends to make a lot of noise when he’s left alone, he may be trying to let you know where he is!

Behavioral Issues

Dogs can’t really tell us how they feel, so they sometimes express their angst through, well, mischief. Fido may chew, pace, or dig if he is feeling anxious. Your canine pal could also display his stress through pica, which is the word for eating things that aren’t food. It also isn’t uncommon for dogs to soil inappropriately because of anxiety.


If you and your furry friend are walking, and you happen across something that frightens Fido, your pet could react in a few different ways. Your canine pal may lunge towards the object or person, or he may do the opposite, and try to run in the other direction. Some dogs will also simply plant their paws and refuse to move.


If you know or suspect that your canine buddy is extremely anxious or nervous, ask your vet or a professional dog behaviorist for advice. Never punish Fido for acting up out of stress: this could actually end up making matters worse!

Please contact us, your San Jose, CA animal clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!