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17 Clear Signs Of Dog Stress (Stressed Dog Body Language)

Signs Of Dog Stress Body Language

Everyone feels stressed sometimes. 

And it’s not just humans.

You see, Fidos can feel stressed too. 

But how could you tell? 

Before you get more worried…

So let me guide you and your pooch.

Keep reading to find out:

  • 7 alarming signs that Fido needs some space.
  • 17 clear signs of stress in dogs (must see #5, #15, and #17.)
  • 11 essential tips on how to calm a stressed pooch (#3 works great.)
  • And many, many more…

How do you know if your dog is stressed?

You’ll know your dog is stressed if their behavior suddenly changes. Moreover, some dogs might also become aggressive. Meanwhile, others want to hide and be left alone. In serious cases, dogs might lose control of their bowels. That means they’d pee or poop uncontrollably due to stress.

17 signs of dog stress (stressed dog body language)

#1: Silence

Is your dog typically vocal

You know, just like Huskies.

If that’s the case…

You’ll know right away if Fido’s stressed. 

That’s because they’ll become silent. And to a vocal dog, that’s alarming. 

But why do they have this kind of reaction? 

Well, your pooch might be stressed out of fear. 

And for example, when people are afraid of something… 

They’d tend to be quiet and be left with no words, right? 

It’s the same with stressed dogs. 

Learn more: 9 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Doesn’t Bark + 7 Tips

#2: Pacing

Most dogs love to walk around instead of staying still all day. 

But how can you tell when it’s not normal anymore? 

Well, pay attention to Fido’s walk. If they keep going back and forth from just 1 place to another… 

Then that’s a sign of stress.

And you’ll commonly see this when you take them to places.

Though, your furry friend might do this at home too. 

Let’s say they didn’t get enough exercise lately. 

Your pooch might feel stressed out. That’s due to the lack of stimulation. 

Thus, they’ll become restless and start pacing. 

Read next: 15 Easy Tips To Calm A Restless Dog At Night (How-To) 

#3: Whining

It’s common for puppies to whine. But what if an adult dog does it too? 

Well, that’s a clear sign of stress in Fidos. 

Though, whining might tell you what their problem is. 

For example… 

The following dogs are more likely to whine out of stress:

  • They’re sick. 
  • Fido has an injury. 
  • They have mental issues like trauma. 

Note: If your pup doesn’t stop whining, it’s best to consult an expert. 

#4: Peeing more than usual

One of the first things you’d teach your dog is potty training

With this, your pup won’t leave a mess anywhere. 

But suddenly…

Fido peed inside the house again. 

What went wrong? Did your pup forget their lessons? 

Well, that’s possible. But it’s not normal.

You see, losing bladder control could be a sign of stress.

It’s like when people are watching horror movies. 

Sometimes, they get so shocked. With that, they’d end up wetting their pants. 

And that’s what stress can also do to Fido.

Not to mention, your pup might pee more than usual too. 

That means the frequency increases. Or the amount of their pee is abnormal.

Now, this stress reaction is more common in certain dogs. 

Specifically, I’m referring to Fidos who are:

  • Seniors.
  • Puppies. 
  • Rescues
  • Sick or injured.

That’s because these furry pals might not have the best control of their pee. 

Reading tip: Why Is My Dog Suddenly Peeing A Lot (In The House)? 27 Tips

An Upset Stomach Is A Stressed Dog Body Language

#5: An upset stomach

Did you know that stress can upset Fido’s stomach? 


Dogs who are more prone to a sensitive stomach might have this issue. 

You see, a study found that anxiety could lead to GDV in Fidos. 

“Wait, what’s GDV?” 

That stands for gastric dilatation and volvulus. Or you can also call it bloat. 

But how does stress do this to your pooch? 

For now, the main cause is unknown. 

Still, you should know what GDV can do to dogs. And based on the AKC, here are its symptoms: 

  • Panting.
  • Drooling.
  • A hard belly.
  • Restlessness.
  • Swollen tummy.

Warning: Bloat can lead to sudden deaths in dogs. So if you notice these symptoms, call an expert right away. 

Now, even if your pup doesn’t end up bloated…

They’re still at risk of having issues like: 

Yep, stress can do these things to your furry pal too. And vets call this: colitis. 

Check out also: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Has Diarrhea At Night + 5 Tips

#6: Folded ears

When Fido’s hiding their ears behind their heads…

That’s another clear sign of stress. 

And this is commonly caused by: 

  • Fear.
  • Loud noises. 
  • Sudden movements. 

Dogs can do this because they have soft ears that they can freely move.

You might be interested in: Can Dogs Die From Stress Of Fireworks? 9 Dangers + 7 Tips

#7: Excessive licking and scratching

You might think your furry pal’s just hungry. And that’s why they keep licking their lips…

Well, if Fido just wants some food, then that’s good. 

But too much licking could also mean they’re stressed. 

In that case, they’ll lick other spots or objects too. Such as: 

  • Their toys.
  • Other dogs.
  • Your furniture.
  • The floor or wall.
  • Fido’s private parts.

Note: These are examples of compulsive behavior. And dogs do this to distract themselves from stress. 

That aside, Fido might scratch nonstop due to stress too. 

#8: Barking

Most dogs bark regularly. 

So how would you know if it’s already a sign of stress?

Well, that’s when their barks become:

  • Excessive. 
  • Louder than usual.
  • Mixed with growling.
  • Sharper for your ears.

And this might happen when there are strangers around.

Not to mention… 

Fidos might also show their teeth in this case. But that’s a sign that they’re ready to bite. 

So if you notice this in your pooch…

It’s best to give them space to calm down. 

Otherwise, you’d risk getting bitten by a stressed and angry pup.

Suggested read: 5 Reasons Why Dogs Bite Your Hands + 5 Tips To Stop It

#9: Panting and drooling

It’s also normal for dogs to pant and drool. 

But just like #7 and #8… 

When it’s too much, it’s a clear sign of stress. 

It also means your pooch might have trouble breathing. That’s why they’re panting rapidly

Plus, it’s another way for them to regulate their temperature. That means Fido’s trying to calm down.

It’s like when you try to take a deep breath…

Well, it helps you relax a little if you do that, right? 

Now, the same thing works for dogs when they pant. 

After all, they can’t sweat as humans do. 

Oh, and since I mentioned that… 

Check your furry pal’s paws. If they’re sweaty, that’s another sign of stress. 

Aside from this, your dog might also drool a lot when they’re stressed.

Continue reading: 21 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Drools (& Acts Strange)

#10: Hiding and changes in their sleep

Many people can relate to this feeling: 

When they’re stressed out… 

All they want is to be left alone. They’d even sleep the whole day if they could. 

That’s because it’s their way to recharge their energy.

Now, the same thing applies to some dogs. 

When they’re burned out… 

Fido just wants to hide and sleep all day. That’s why you might find your furry friend snoring in the bathroom

Aside from this…

Some dogs might cower due to stress 

That means their back is hunched over. Plus, their hackles (back hair) might rise up too.

Now, this is Fido’s way of trying to look as small as possible. And they do it to hide or escape.

In that case, try giving Fido some time first. 

But after you do and your pup still feels down after a day or 2…

It might be a good time for a check-up with the vet.

#11: Sudden coat changes 

Some Fidos might shed their fur out of stress. And this is more common in show dogs.

How so? Well, they might get nervous on the day of their performance. 

In human terms, it’s like stage fright.

That’s why those dogs might suddenly shed their fur. 

But regardless of whether they’re a show dog or not…

A stressed dog will suddenly lose its shiny coat and start to shed randomly.

#12: Destructive behavior

Experts say that stress can also cause unwanted habits in dogs. 

Specifically, I’m talking about destructive behavior.

That means you might catch Fido doing the following:

  • Digging everywhere.
  • Chewing up your furniture. 
  • Breaking any items at home.

Sometimes, it can get too bad… 

Your furry friend might end up escaping your house. 

And they could do that by digging under your fence. Or they might break through the windows. 

Some dogs are even strong enough to break through their cage. 

Now, what causes this kind of reaction? 

Well, it’s mostly due to boredom and loneliness. 

You see, Fidos are typically full of energy. That’s why they need mental stimulation. 

Meanwhile, some dogs are prone to separation anxiety too. 

That means they can’t handle being alone for long hours, unlike certain breeds.

With that, they become stressed when left with their own devices.

Suggested read: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Suddenly Being Destructive + Tips 

#13: Freezing or shaking 

Specialists at the AKC says: 

Freezing or shaking are clear signs of stress.

And while the former might seem harmless to some… 

You should actually contact a vet in this case. 

That’s because freezing’s a sign that your dog has given up. In their mind, they might be thinking: 

“There’s no escaping this stress. So what’s the point? I’ll just stop.” 

That’s why these Fidos need an expert’s help. 

Aside from this… 

Shaking could also lead to seizures in dogs. 

So if your pooch keeps shaking, visit the clinic.

#14: Yawning

Did you know? Research states that your pup can catch your yawns. 

But what if they’re yawning too much, even when you’re not? 

Well, PetMD says that dogs do this out of stress. That’s because it helps them calm their nerves. 

Usually, a dog might yawn when they’re with other Fidos. Especially when there’s tension within the group.

However, a canine would yawn under stress as if they’re saying: 

“That’s enough fighting. Everyone, relax.” 

That’s because their yawn spreads to other puppies too. And it can create a calming domino effect. 

Suggested read: Why Does My Dog Yawn When I Pet Him? 9 Surprising Reasons

#15: Sudden weight gain or loss

Science says:

Some dogs are stress eaters. That means their appetite increases when they feel upset.

And this could lead to sudden weight gain. Or even obesity. 

If such a thing happens, that puts your dog at many health risks too. 

So if your pooch always wants to eat… 

Think twice if they’re just greedy for food. Your pup might just be a stress eater. 

Now, on the opposite side… 

The sudden change of appetite could also cause weight loss. 

And here’s how it happens: 

You see, when dogs are stressed… 

Their body creates a hormone. Specifically, it’s called cortisol. And it’s also known as stress hormones. 

But what exactly does cortisol do? 

Well, it increases blood sugar levels in the body. With this, your dog’s at risk of having diabetes. 

And here’s what doctors say about it: 

Sudden weight loss is an early sign of diabetes.

So if Fido’s eating a lot yet still losing weight…

Contact the vet to see if your dog might have diabetes.

Reading tip: Do Dogs Only Care About Food? 7 Things You Need To Know 

#16: Showing whale eyes

Has your dog ever given you the side-eye? 

You know, the one that looks like they’re guilty. Or they’re judging you. 

Yep. It looks cute or funny

But you see, science says dogs don’t feel guilt. In fact, they’re too innocent for that. 

So when they give you side-eye, a.k.a, whale eyes…

That’s a sign of fear and stress, according to the AKC.

Check out next: 17 Crystal Clear Signs Your Dog Doesn’t Like You

#17: Losing interest in their favorites

When dogs feel stressed for a long time…

It might lead to something more alarming, experts say. 

And I’m talking about depression.

When this occurs, your pooch might lose interest in everything. 

Scientists call this: “learned helplessness.” 

Remember what I said in sign #13? It’s just like when dogs lose their hope. 

That means your pooch will stop doing things like:

  • Barking.
  • Playing with their toys.
  • Paying attention to you.
  • Eating their favorite food.
  • Looking forward to walks.
  • Walking around the house.

Now, these are things that are so unlike your pup. And if left ignored, your furry friend could end up sick. 

After all, poor mental health might badly affect Fido’s body.

So if you suspect this issue in your dog…

Call the vet ASAP.

You can also learn tips on how to help your dog here: 

Reading tip: Quiz: Is My Dog Depressed? 19 Symptoms (+Tips To Treat It)

How do you calm down a stressed dog?

To calm down a stressed dog, try these 11 essential tips:

  • Give them a massage.
  • Play some soothing music.
  • Let them have some time alone.
  • Identify what causes their stress.
  • Spend enough time with your dog.
  • Remove the source of their anxiety.
  • Keep your pooch entertained with toys.
  • Let them rest in a clean and quiet room.
  • Don’t force them to cooperate with tasks.
  • Avoid touching or cornering Fido unless they come to you first.

And if these 11 tips don’t work, always seek a professional. They’re the best help you and your pooch can get.