What Stress Can Do to Your Dog

Family with sick dog sitting in veterinary clinic waiting room
Stress for a pet can either be physical or emotional, just as with their human owners. Stress can be triggered by a change in the pets environment or what a pet perceives as a threat to their well-being.

Health problems such as infections, injuries, injuries from fights and changes in the amount of exercise can cause stress. Boarding in unfamiliar places, breeding, whelping, performing in shows, and travel can cause stress. A death in the immediate family of the owner which can cause a loss of affection can cause stress. Earthquakes, home fires, extra people in the home can cause stress. Sudden changes in the living area such as new furniture or a new home can cause stress. Age is also a factor with stress. Older pets do not react well to changes in their routine. They also become set in their ways. In older pets it is advisable to arrange a sitter rather than put the pet in a kennel if travel for the owner becomes an issue. The pets environment and routines will have only a minimal change. Usually a little more protein and fat are a good idea. For an amount specific to your breed consult your veterinarian.

Stress can cause a change in your pets behaviour. Changes can be aggressive behaviour or complete depression. Either scenario requires TLC (tender loving care). Keep yourself and your pet as calm, quiet and relaxed as possible. Provide comfort food, lots of water and a quiet place to rest. Having a portable kennel and a muzzle are also recommended. Consult your veterinarian prior to and after stressful situations for suggestions to prevent minimal stress and to ensure your pets health and recovery will have a speedy return to normal.

Stress causes an increase in your pets heartbeat and their muscles tense. Extra energy is needed to help cope with stress. Adding a little extra comfort food is recommended.


Terrie Simpson has been involved in the dog world for over 28 years and has achieved numerous awards with her Springer Spaniels in tracking and obedience. Over that time, she has amassed a good amount of knowledge about how to keep a dog healthy. She is now happy to give back by sharing her experience with other dog owners.

Terrie is a contributing writer for the K9 Kourier - a weekly dog health care ezine. To sign up for the K9 Kourier and receive a free $47 gift visit The K9 Kourier Weekly ezine - everything you need to help you keep your canine happy, healthy and full of life - the natural way.

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