Humans Aren’t The Only Ones Stressed This Holiday Season!

Signs of Stress

Lip licking and yawning

Every time your pet licks its lips or yawns, doesn’t mean that its stressed. If they are sitting on the couch, or laying down for a nap they may obviously not be stressed but if they begin this behavior in a crowded room or when they’re being hugged/ petted or tugged on it may be a sign of stress.

Wide eyed and adverting gaze

Some breeds of dogs have a wider or ‘bug eyed’ look to them, so just like most of this list, you’re going to have to use your judgement, however clearly avoiding eye contact with you will probably be the easiest way to tell that your pet is stressed out.

Hackling

Raising its ‘hackles’ or ‘guard hair’ (the longer layer of fur along a dog’s back) means that they are nervous or anxious. This can be a bit more aggressive behaviour than the first two on this list, so just practice caution with your pet.

Growling and snapping

This is your dog’s very vocal way of letting you know that they are uncomfortable. Try to calmly remove them from the situation… possibly to a ‘safe room’ as described below.

Stiff wagging tail or Cowering and tail tucking

These are more fearful actions… approach the dog carefully, and watch for further signs of discomfort. The best course of action would be to provide a safe space away from the activities as outlined below.

Shivering and shaking

Think of how Chihuahua’s or Whippets are usually portrayed in movies- they might look as if they’re cold, but they’re actually exhibiting anxious or nervous behaviours when they start shivering or shaking.

Backing away and hiding

This is a clear sign that your pet is uncomfortable and thinking about an escape (Make sure your I.D tags are up to date this holiday season! We can help) Your dog may back itself into an actual corner, try to hide, or back away from guests… either way, your pet is trying to tell you they are super uncomfortable!

Pacing or inability to settle down

Dogs who pace or are unable to settle down may also feel stressed too. Only you know your pet best and can determine if they are feeling stressed and the best way to help them cope.

How to Comfort

Remove them from stressful situations- Provide a safe space

This is probably the easiest and most effective way to help your pet. Use a room that is out of sight from the party (maybe an upstairs bedroom or laundry room- however make sure that anything poisonous is well out of reach!) In the room include their favorite toys, a comfy bed and/or blanket, a piece of your clothing (the scent will soothe them) and especially water!

Occupy your pet

To help take your pet’s mind off what they view as a stressful situation,try giving them long lasting chews or bones or a extra exercise! Ask your guests to help by playing rope, or a light game of fetch!

Try calming aids

This tip can also go along with the safe space. Like in thunder and lightening storms, try introducing  slow paced classified music at a low volume, nature calming sprays, thunder shirts, or pet rescue remedies.