It's a Bad Day - Are You Stressed Yet?
You wake up exhausted on a Monday with a headache. You don't have any aspirin-- oh well. You drive to work, narrowly avoiding an accident when someone cuts you off---aaargh! At work, your boss immediately stops by to pile on some more work that you weren't expecting. Lastly, you spill coffee down the front of your shirt. Seriously?!
What Stresses Dogs
The same things may not stress us, but dogs have bad days just like us. Here are some possible stressful things for dogs:
Pain and Illness: Dogs don't always show us that they're in pain or not feeling well. Look for signs like wanting to head for home on walks early, a slowing pace, hesitancy to lie down or get up, disinterest in food, extra napping.
Veterinary Visits: Many dogs are stressed at vet visits. Keep an eye out for stress reactions at the vet and afterward.
Environmental Stressors: Other dogs, bikes, strollers, traffic, thunderstorms, fireworks, the doorbell, visitors, big parties, delivery providers.
Changes Around the Home: moving to a new home, travel, boarding, pet sitters, back-to-school/work, summer vacations, long-term visitors.
Trigger Stacking - It All Adds Up
Like us, stressful things can add up in a particular day or week and make it more difficult to weather new stressors. If your dog ever has an unexpected reaction to regular life, think back on what might be causing overall stress.
How to Help Your Dog
Understand that your dog might be having a bad day or week. Give your dog a break from stressful things and allow them to relax more.
Add Good Stuff! Do more things that your dog LOVES to do to counteract stress - games, walks, snuggles, etc.
Unfortunately, dogs are often labeled as happy-go-lucky, easygoing, and ready for anything. Real-life ogs have bad days, and it's ok to help them manage and recover.