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Managing stress in dogs

Dogs today can find our hectic lifestyles difficult to cope with, we are constantly on the go whether it be moving house, going on holiday, having parties and even loud noises we make for fun like fireworks night.

Dogs exhibit different signs of stress depending on the dog and on the stressful situation. Typical signs of stress a dog can show are:

Barking
It is normal for dogs to bark for various reasons however excessive barking can be due to confinement or frustration or lack of exercise.  This often happens in re-homing centres and kennels.  The Dogs Trust, Wood Green Animal Shelter, Blue Cross and many other rehoming centres use Adaptil Collars on every dog.  Clearly it is best to address confinement, frustration and lack of exercise with increased space, further exercise and toys to occupy the dog.

Trembling/shaking/shivering
If the dog is not wet or cold and the dog is shaking, shivering or trembling then this is more than likely to be stress related.  Situations this often happens in are travel, kennels, puppies first night and fireworks (normally whilst hiding).

Drooling
In the absence of food (or expected food) or a mouth injury then drooling indicates stress.  This is typically seen when a dog is traveling in a car but can be seen at other times too.

Hiding
Dogs are social animals so they like to be with a group. If the dog starts hiding it can be to get away from a stressful situation or a loud noise like Fireworks.

Excessive licking and scratching
Excessive licking, scratching or grooming in dogs is often related to boredom and/or stress behavioral problems.  This can result in injury as well as inflammation in your dogs skin. Often, when licking does become excessive, it will often lead to your dog scratching the same areas, and if it is severe, they will also start to actually bite themselves.  Visiting the vet early is important to manage any skin problems that can occur.  If boredom is the cause then dog toys etc can help to reduce the stress.

What can you do to help?

In the first instance your Vetsure Vet will be a great source of information and advice.  There is a product available over the counter at your vet that can help – Adaptil.

Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural comforting pheromone released by a mother dog to reassure her puppies.
This has been scientifically proven* to not only help puppies but also dogs of all ages with:

Help promote learning during training and socialisation
Help puppies or adult dogs settle in new homes
Help dogs to cope with challenging situations such as staying in kennels
Staying home alone
Fireworks
Visiting the vet
Travelling in vehicles
Night crying
Christmas
New baby

*The effect of Adaptil has been shown in more than 16 studies published in scientific journals or presented at veterinary conferences all over the world

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