How to help your dog cope with stress? And how does distress affect a dog?
We can hardly protect our dogs from any stress. How does distress (“bad” stress) affect a dog and how to help your pet cope with stress?
How does distress (“bad” stress) affect a dog?
When stress in the blood of a dog rises cortisol level - the so-called "stress hormone". And if there is a lot of cortisol, changes in the physiological level occur in the animal’s body, and this cannot but affect the pet’s behavior.
First of all, distress or chronic stress “hits” genitourinary system. And sometimes puddles at home are not a sign of “bad manners”, but a symptom of urinary incontinence - one of the consequences of stress.
Digestive upset also often associated with stress.
Chronic stress affects functioning the immune system dogs.
An increase in cortisol levels negatively affects neural connections and affects the areas of the brain that are responsible for lowering the level of arousal.
That is a dog behaves "badly" (for example, barking too much or walking badly on a leash) not because it is “harmful” or “revengeful”, it does not learn new commands not because it is “dumb”, but because it cannot cope with stress.
Good, as you see, is not enough. Can dogs help manage stress? Can.
How to help dogs deal with distress (“bad” stress)?
First of all, care must be taken not to create additional stress in the dog’s life. You need to become a wise and calm defender for the dog that you can rely on.
To overcome the effects of excessive or chronic stress in a dog, an anti-stress program is prepared that includes the following items:
- Examination at vet. Eliminate possible diseases, especially if the dog has dandruff, skin problems, incontinence, diarrhea, etc.
- Provide the dog shelter- a secluded place where she can feel safe.
- Establishing clear and understandable of the rules. A good attitude towards a dog is not equal to “permissiveness”.
- Review load. Are they excessive? Sometimes it’s useful and necessary to enter “boring days” (3 or 4 days) so that the level of cortisol decreases.
- Find the right one for your dog. balancemental and physical stress, so that there is neither boredom nor excessive stimulation. When training, carefully watch the dog in order to notice fatigue or signs of stress in time.
- Practice exercises on relaxation.
- Introduce exercises on body ownership and balance.
- Entertain the dog search games.
- Use comfortable and safe. ammunition.
- Review if necessary ration.
- Use massageand TTouch.
- You can use aromatherapy and music therapy.
How to dose physical activity to help the dog cope with stress?
In order not to develop excessive stress, it is necessary to dose physical activity for the dog. And for this, you should adhere to the rules:
- Increase or decrease in physical activity occurs gradually.
- Exercise for the dog should be regular (usually at least 3-4 times a week).
- Physical activity should be moderately intense, lasting up to 30 minutes.
- Consider the individual characteristics of the dog.
- Control your desires. Of course, everyone wants to have a champion, but is your dog suitable for this role?
- Track your pet’s emotional and physical condition (both during and after class)
To defeat chronic or excessive stress, you need to become a guarantee of safety for your dog. Let your pet know that he can relax in your company.