Signs of Stress in Dogs to Watch for During the Holidays

Signs of Stress in Dogs to Watch for During the Holidays


How do the Holidays Cause Dog Anxiety and Stress?

Knowing how to relieve stress in dogs during the holidays is a must for dog owners. Dog anxiety caused by holiday stress is nothing to scoff at – it can cause your dog to be more destructive, have housetraining accidents, and in some cases, act out at people or dogs.

In addition to focusing on how to relieve the stress our dog is feeling, it’s just as important to prevent holiday anxiety and stress in dogs from occurring in the first place.

A little foresight and planning will go a long way. Read on and make a list of how you can change your holiday celebrations to make them more dog-friendly and less dog-stressful!

The holidays are a busy time. We are gone more often attending holiday gatherings and rushing around more to shop, decorate, and prepare.

Our dogs not only pick up on our stress but struggle to handle all the changes we throw their way.

I knew the holidays were stressful for my dogs and cats, but I didn’t realize just how many things contribute to my dog’s stress until I researched this article. Read this list and make a note of which stressors your dogs experience during the holidays:

Sources of dog holiday stress:

Read through these sources of dog holiday stress and note the one(s) your dog encounters during the holidays. It will help you decide which of the approaches to reduce stress in dogs will be most effective.

  • Dogs may be left home alone more
  • More people in the house; house is much busier than usual
  • Busier schedules; owners coming and going more often
  • House is noisier – overstimulating for our dogs
  • Some holiday visitors may not be dog-friendly (dogs can sense when someone doesn’t like them or is afraid of them)
  • Your dog may sense your stress or loneliness
  • Smell overload – dogs can be overstimulated by all the new scents in the air
  • Christmas cooking can cause upset tummies if dogs are eating dropped scraps of food
  • Dogs get less exercise if owners are busy and skip or shorten walks and outside time
  • Dogs get less attention when owners are too busy
  • Dog routines are constantly changing because of holiday activities

Signs of Stress in Dogs to Watch for During the Holidays

Navigating holidays with dogs can be tough. The sooner you recognize that your dog is stressed, the sooner you can take steps to alleviate the stress and prevent dog anxiety issues from developing.

Try to watch your dog before the holidays, when they are relaxed and happy. Notice what they look like when they are walking around, or sitting in their dog bed. If you are used to their “normal” look you will be much more likely to notice when your dog is worried or stressed.

You need to be intentional and notice changes, like when your dog gets that flat eared “worried” look and walks away or follows you around like a shadow. Those are just a few signs of stress in dogs that you need to watch for.

This poster by Dr. Sophia Yin is a great reference to print out and tape up in your office or kitchen. Click to download free poster from Sophia Yin’s website

Dr. Sophia Yin Body Language of Fear in Dogs Resource

Signs of Stress in Dogs to Watch for During the Holidays
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