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I think it’s going to be a bit of an understatement when I say that we all want our dogs to be happy and healthy, but it’s true. When I spoke about desensitizing to thunder, it made me think about stress in dogs in general. Because thunder can cause stress in dogs, or at least invoke it if they mirror my (or your) behavior as I said, but it’s not the only thing. In fact, there are lots of different things that can stress dogs out. And we know what it feels like to be stressed and anxious – it sucks. So for me, trying to stop my dogs from being distressed is highly important.

 

Spot Those Tell All Signs

 

Spotting the signs of stress is going to be the first part of you stopping them. And actually, it’s surprisingly easy. Our dogs are often creatures of habit – you can know their temperament and behaviors like the back of your hand. So noticing when they’re acting strangely can be easy.

 

They can’t tell you, but they can show you. The things that I would look out for the most are any changes in their common behaviors like having accidents or not eating. And although at first you might get stressed yourself and wonder why you have to stop your dog peeing in the house again(!), you should see it as a warning sign. Sometimes, you’ll be able to notice right away.

 

Get A Second Opinion

 

But remember that accidents or changes in temperaments or eating could be a sign of something more serious than stress. I have gotten a second opinion in the past when I’ve been worried. So if you’re not 100% sure that your pups are stressed, go and speak to your veterinarian first just in case.

 

Always Balance Everything – For The Sake Of Their Health

 

So, on to what we all can all try and do to keep that dreaded stress at bay. I would always try and figure out what the trigger is, like thunder, and remove it where possible. Although you can’t help when the weather turns, if it is anything you can control, you need to be able to do that. For me, car trips can sometimes be a trigger, so I try to limit them or at least keep them balanced. Dogs are creatures of habits, so I always try to keep them to their routine and ensure they are balanced – rather than change things up that could set them off.

 

Trying Some TLC

 

With anything, you can’t control, or if you can see that your dog is stressed, I would highly suggest giving them some TLC. Dogs respond so well to touch, and it can really calm them down. I always give my dog a big cuddle and some fuss when stress sets in, or even to try and combat it from setting in in the first place.

 

And If All Else Fails…

 

Music helps dogs to chill out and stay calm.It sounds silly, but it’s true. And I know when I’m stressed out I play some of my favorite songs to chill out too. So when you can see that they’re stressed, put on a song, and cuddle them. Believe me; it can often be the key to keeping your dog away from distress.

The jury is still out as to whether dogs can actually get post-traumatic stress disorder. Even dogs that have been serving in the military in Afghanistan and have seen a lot of devastation and violence may or may not have symptoms of PTSD. It’s a new concept and one that is under debate by veterinarians across the world.

It’s all in the labeling
Sometimes we just get a little too caught up in labeling certain types of conditions instead of calling them as they really are. It’s certain that a lot of military dogs that have come back from active duty do show signs of stress and aren’t able to carry on with their regular lifestyle as they did before. Is this post-traumatic stress disorder? Maybe the question should be “is it important whether this is post-traumatic stress disorder or not?” Either way, labels or not, the dog is being affected by the trauma he’s been through and may need a bit of extra understanding and love upon his return.

Dogs in shelters
There are some dogs that can handle a shelter environment while others seem to have a very hard time dealing with the caged experience. When you think about it, it’s the same with people. Some individuals don’t mind going into the hospital and actually enjoy the extra care they get when they’re in there. Others feel like they are in a type of cage and are counting the days, hours and minutes until they can get released.

With dogs that have had a difficult time adjusting to some type of traumatic experience, there can definitely be a lot of stress and hard times to follow. Anyone who has spent any amount of time around dogs in shelters or has witnessed rescues from the streets or puppy mills will know what an overly stressed and depressed dog looks like. It’s a little hard to argue those symptoms.

In humans, PTSD is characterized by flashbacks of incidents and it’s really impossible to say whether a dog even has the capability to have a flashback or not. This is where the labeling part of the disorder comes into play. There may have to be a different name given to the symptoms of stress that can be seen in dogs.

Dogs that are exhibiting severe stress problems need to be handled appropriately. They will be dealing with a lot of trust issues and won’t really know what will happen the next time he turns a corner. It can take some time for the dog to develop a new sense of trust and you may want to look at anti-anxiety medication for a short time to help him over the rough patch.

Whether you want to call it PTSD or not, there are a lot of dogs that show signs and symptoms of anxiety and stress after they have been through a traumatic situation. Fortunately, most dogs can learn to cope with their immediate surroundings with some help from a caring owner and a lot of understanding.

Susan Wright is an experienced veterinarian, dog fence expert, and freelance writer.

When it comes to most peoples excuses for getting a bad sleep, it’s either their children or all the stress they deal with, or both. I won’t deny it, babies and stress definitely cause a lot of sleeping issues, however there are probably other things that you don’t even know about that’s affecting your sleep. Here are some little known reasons why you might be sleeping really bad.

First, your pets. Pet’s sleeping in the bed is not a new thing, in fact most people with pets do this on a nightly basis. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big animal or small, both can cause havoc. Of course, big animals will take up a lot of room in the bed. From personal experience, smaller animals jump up and down all night long.

Just incase your never thought about it, your bedding can really get ruined because of your pets too. Most people are making the switch to much nicer bedding like silk bedding or Egyptian cottons which will undoubtedly get ripped because of your pets. All of this with pets and we have not even talked about the allergy problem.

Second, you have to deal with room temperature. This is closely related to the bedding your using, but temperature is something a lot of people don’t think about. So many people say that it’s better to sleep in a cool room, which is actually very true. But this then puts pressure on you to use a lot better bed linens that can regulate your temperature better.

Bedding is another reason because it doesn’t protect you from temperature regulations. You need good luxury bed linens. A great option that is one of the best for comfort are bamboo sheets. These are good insulators which help you stay the same temperature no matter the temperature outside the bed.

Fourth, you have fitness. More and more people seem to be trying to live really healthy lives these days. The only bad thing that seems to happen to a lot of people is they end up working out so late because of work. The problem comes because you are so jacked up from working out that your body won’t let you fall asleep. If you can, try not to workout after 9:00 at night.

Finally, you have work. Rather than looking at this from a stress perspective, you might be like a lot of people and take email or something else to bed with you so you can try and be just a little more productive. Stop trying to get work done before bed and do something that separates your mind form work like read a really good fiction book.