Is your dog acting unusual? Perhaps he or she seems too anxious or depressed. Stress is more common in dogs than you may think. Even worse, stress can negatively impact your dog’s health.

Most of the dog owners are aware of the basic signs of when their dog is stressed but sometimes they miss out some not so obvious signs that their dogs display when they are stressed. Just like humans, dogs can get stressed and even get depressed for various reasons and just like in case of humans, the signs may not be conspicuous enough for the owners to take a note.

What are Signs that Your Dog Is Stressed?

If we can decode our dogs’ body language, we can bail out sensitive dogs before they get overwhelmed. And even the calm and happy-go-lucky types may find some situations too much for them. Come to think of it, watching them closely may reveal that they’re not so calm after all.

DogNotEatingDecrease in appetite

Dogs don’t go on fasts or diets like we do, so it’s important to consult a veterinarian if your pet suddenly loses interest in food or stops eating altogether. It could be due to stress or to an underlying health condition, including anorexia, which can cause your dog to refuse to eat totally and its food intake to decrease so much that it leads to drastic weight loss.


Some dogs like some alone time now and then. However, a dog that is constantly isolating him or herself from other pets or people may be suffering from anxiety or a sickness. Your veterinarian can help you identify the cause of this strange behavior. 

Sleeping a lot

By now you will have become accustomed to your dog’s sleeping schedule. Speak with your veterinarian if your dog is sleeping more than usual or seems overly lethargic. Lethargy is often the first symptom that a dog is sick, injured or traumatized.

20273-Border-Collie-cross-bitch-looking-aggressive-white-backgroundUnusual aggressiveness

Aggressive actions toward animals or people can be a sign of a stressed or sick dog. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before the problem gets worse. Many aggressive signs are accompanied by a fearful body posture and facial expression, and with submissive behavior. Treatment for aggression focuses behavior management techniques to assist the dog with its anxiety and anger. Devices such as muzzles can also be effective when the dog is away from home, with all treatment being focused on preventing injury to humans, other animals, and to the dog.

Subtle stressful reactions

  • Licking nose and lips
  • Yawning when not sleepy
  • Panting without any physical activity
  • Avoidance can look like many things.  Common types of avoidance include:
    • Excessive sniffing
    • Inattention
    • Looking away
    • Turning away
  • Shaking off

Other Signs

These signs don’t necessarily come across in photos, but are also common signs of stress.

  • Low body posture
  • Weight shifted to back legs
  • Excessive shedding
  • Excessive whining or other vocalization
  • Slow or tense movement
  • Refusal of food (especially when normally food-motivated)
  • Restlessness or pacing
  • Inattentiveness to owner
  • Sweating from paws
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tension around eyes and mouth


p1020916Half Moon Eye

The dog just wants to be left alone. This is a common expression in dogs that being hugged. If you see the half moon eye when the kids approach the dog or are interacting with the dog, it’s time to intervene and give them all something else to do.