As humans, if we’re in a distressing situation, or if we’re experiencing feelings of being unwell or in pain, we can be vocal about it and speak to friends and family or a medical professional to get help. Unfortunately for our pets, they have to rely on us being perceptive enough of their changes in habits or signs that they’re not feeling right before they can get that same sort of assistance. There are many ways in which you can tell that your pet is feeling unwell, and we’ve listed some of the top things to look out for so that you can make an informed decision on whether they need to see a vet or if there’s something you can do to calm them down. Below are 5 signs your dog is in distress, and how to help settle them.
Whining And Barking
There are so many things that can stress out our four-legged friends, and a lot of these things aren’t easy to perceive as humans. Dogs have heightened senses of hearing and smell, and a distant slam of a door or a car backfiring a few blocks away can sound like a much more immediate threat to our dogs than to us. There are many reasons as to why your dog may bark or cry and when your dog starts barking at sounds or whining, they may just be feeling uncomfortable with that particular noise or feeling territorial. Try to remain calm as they can often pick up on your feeling and demeanor and try to remove them from the stressful situation. Providing your dog with a quiet space away from unsettling noises. If your dog is still barking and whining, it could be a sign of some other problem, such as them being in pain or unwell. This could warrant a vet visit if you’re concerned.
Pacing Around And Shaking
Stressful situations can make all of us irritable and cause us to fidget. In some more intense scenarios, we can find it almost impossible to sit still, and this can be the exact same for dogs. If you notice that they’re walking around a lot and especially in a repetitive manner, they could be experiencing great stress. You might also find your dog shaking as though they had just got out of some water or have just been rolling around on the floor. This is almost as if they’re trying to shake off the anxiety and you’ll often find them doing this when they’re overstimulated or somewhere they’re not happy with such as at the vets.
Dragging Their Butt
It’s difficult not to laugh at this assuming sight, but when a dog is scooting along the floor, it’s not only equally funny and gross, but a sign that your dog is in some form of distress. This can also be a sign of something more seriously wrong with your dog, such as them having worms or a blocked anal gland. Read more about this issue from Native Pet’s article as it’s quite an in-depth issue. A quick trip to the vet can help you to figure out what the problem is. We do recommend looking away if it is indeed a gland issue, especially if you’re a bit squeamish—it’s a simple, yet unpleasant remedy that you don’t really get used to seeing.
Drooling And Excessive Panting
This is a normal process for dogs to regulate their body temperature, which they often do on hot days or after strenuous exercise. However, you might have noticed them doing this when meeting new people and animals and could be a sign that they’re overstimulated or stressed out. You may find that they also drool and lick their lips, people, or items excessively too. This may also not be stress and may just be excitement. It might be worth taking them out for some exercise by throwing a ball around for them or letting them have a run around. Once you return to the situation, you might find that they go and settle down and even ignore everything and everyone in the room. If not, it might be a sign that your dog has anxiety and needs to be removed from certain stressful situations more to reduce these symptoms and prevent them from becoming unwell from worry.
Growling And Snapping
A much more serious sign that your dog is unhappy or stressed out is if they growl at other people or animals as they approach, or worse, lash out at them. This can often be just a warning, and some dogs will refrain from ever actually connecting with you, but they likely just want you to assume you might get bitten if you come any closer. While some dogs can just be aggressive, if this is out of the ordinary for your dog, they might be in some serious pain or discomfort and just want to be left alone. A lot of dogs can seemingly handle minor injuries and pain quite well, so the chances are, if they’re acting this way, it’s not very pleasant for them. It’s definitely worth consulting your vet to see if they can identify this issue, as it could be something that requires urgent treatment.
For more pet tips, like when your dog is in distress, check out our pet archives.
Meg is an author at Cinnamon Hollow. She writes on a variety of topics sharing tips and ideas for daily life.