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Has Your Dog Been Affected by Stress?

April 15, 2015

Your golden retriever Jackson is completely focused on fun. Each day, this outgoing four-year-old canine eagerly expects to meet friendly new dogs and people. Along the way, he’ll rack up two neighborhood walks and perhaps a dog park visit. By evening, he’ll be happily sacked out on his comfy bed, dreaming of the next day’s escapades. Recently, however, your energetic pooch has displayed some odd behaviors. Although a medical problem could be the cause, you wonder if stress might be the culprit. Tomorrow, your Oconomowoc veterinarian will give Jackson a physical exam and determine what’s behind his antics.

Considerably Reduced Appetite

Simply put, Jackson loves to eat. He gobbles up his kibbles with lightning speed, and often scarfs the cat’s leftovers for dessert. You’ve even seen him carefully balance on his hind legs, sniffing the kitchen counters for cookies. Lately, though, your healthy-eating canine housemate toys with his meals, only consuming a few small bites. You’re concerned about poor nutrition, and you wonder if stress has affected his appetite.

Lackluster, Lethargic Behavior

Jackson’s a super-fit canine athlete who often outpaces his dog park buddies. On neighborhood walks, he trots at an impressively brisk pace. However, you’ve recently had to drag this reluctant pooch outside for potty duty. When he completes his business, he immediately heads for home without sniffing his favorite trees. You wonder if stress has sapped your dog’s physical and mental energy, essentially turning him into a four-footed zombie.

Out-of-Character Aggression

Your friendly, agreeable pooch can tolerate multiple distractions without difficulty. He actually seems to thrive on chaos. However, yesterday he growled at his favorite dog park playmate; and he bared his teeth at home. If the vet determines he’s healthy, ask if stress has soured his normally happy mood.

Introduce More Exercise

Since exercise often helps to combat stress, increase your sluggish dog’s regular workouts. Ask the vet if he can handle vigorous sports, such as fly-ball or canine agility work.

Comforting Canine Refuge

Maybe your companion becomes frazzled by thunderstorms, noisy parties, fireworks, or other alarming racket. Provide a quiet refuge, such as a cozy closet or small room. Bring in his blanket and favorite toys, and stay with him until he becomes calmer.

Your Oconomowoc veterinarian can provide additional stress reduction pointers. If your dog might be impacted by stress, contact us for expert advice.