Can Stress Cause Health Issues in Dogs?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Dogs are such loving creatures. After all, there is a reason why they are called “man’s best friend”. They form lasting bonds, provide you with meaningful company, and somehow always know the best way to brighten up your day. Dogs are kind, loyal, and emotional animals. But as such, they can also be a bit sensitive, and the most unexpected things (to us) can cause them stress. From  loud sounds to time alone and changes in the  routine, there are plenty of factors that could keep your pooch stressed out. But can this stress be dangerous for them? Can stress on a daily level cause some health issues in dogs? Let’s find out. 

Stress is Never Good, But Can it Be Bad for a Dog’s Health?

When the pressure mounts and stress abounds, you can feel that stone weighing in your stomach, making you feel uneasy. It’s a mean and harmful thing that can do some damage. In other words, yes, stress can cause health issues in dogs, just as it can in humans and other animals. Just as we hate it, so do our pets. Dogs, like all living beings, can experience stress in various situations, and if it becomes chronic or severe, it may lead to several health problems.

It is important to differentiate a small potentially stressful situation from severe and repeated major stress. Neither is good, but the latter can be a major health hazard. To know if your pet is under extreme stress, you should familiarize yourself with some of the possible issues that stress can cause. Here’s what can happen:

  • Gastrointestinal problems: Stress can disrupt a dog's digestive system and lead to issues like diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
  • Skin and coat problems: Chronic stress can weaken a dog's immune system, leading to skin conditions like dermatitis or excessive shedding.
  • Compromised immune system: Prolonged stress can suppress a dog's immune system, making them more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
  • Behavioral problems: Stress can manifest as behavioral issues in dogs, such as increased aggression, anxiety-related behaviors, or destructive tendencies.
  • Weight fluctuations: Some dogs may experience weight gain or loss due to stress-related changes in eating habits or metabolism.
  • Cardiovascular issues: Long-term stress can have an impact on a dog's cardiovascular health, potentially leading to heart problems over time.
  • Weakened overall health: Chronic stress can take a toll on a dog's overall well-being, affecting various physiological and psychological processes.

What Are Signs of Stress in Dogs?

It's important to recognize signs of stress in dogs, which may include excessive barking, panting, restlessness, changes in eating or drinking habits, withdrawal, hiding, or destructive behaviors. If you notice any concerning signs of stress or health issues in your dog, it's crucial to consult with a veterinarian. They can help determine the underlying cause of the stress and suggest appropriate measures to alleviate it, which may include behavior modification, environmental enrichment, and, in severe cases, medications to manage anxiety. Ensuring your dog's overall well-being, including mental and emotional health, is essential for maintaining a happy and healthy canine companion.

Of course, there are a number of things you can do in order to alleviate that mild or moderate stress in dogs – such as uneasiness when left alone (but not full-blown separation anxiety), fear of fireworks, visits to the vet’s office, and so on. To help your pet cope with this you can invest in some helpful accessories. ThunderEase Calming Pheromones, for example, are a great and natural way to calm a distressed dog. The plug-in gadget emits natural pheromones that mimic a mother’s natural nursing pheromones, which in turn make your pooch more mellow and relaxed. These pheromones are, of course, drug-free and completely safe for pets!

And if you need to make sure that your pet’s stress levels are down when you’re out of the house, for instance when taking a car ride, going to a vet checkup, etc, you can treat your dog to one of these  hemp calming chews. Your pet will love the taste (they’re duck flavored!) and a blend of potent natural calming ingredients such as hemp seed oil, valerian root, and chamomile will keep them appeased and calm in the face of minor stress.

Still, it is best if you can eliminate sources of stress altogether, and do everything you can to make your dog happy and healthy. And, in cases where symptoms are more severe and stress is chronic, make sure to seek veterinary help – your pet will probably need prescribed meds to help them cope. 

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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