We are all very busy these days with the end of summer and getting the kids back to school. Emotions are high as everyone adjusts to a change from the laid back summer lifestyle.
Dogs can feel the changes too! You and your family are the center of your dog’s world. They observe us in ways we don’t even think about. They can smell our anxiety. Dogs can smell changes in the chemicals in our breath. They can read our body language as well as facial expressions and respond to the changes to our tone of voice.
As the season changes pay attention to your dog too. They may be going through the same anxiety that you are.
- excessive barking or whining
- decreased appetite – if they lose interest in their food or stop eating, it could be due to stress
- GI issues like diarrhea, constipation, bloat. If there is blood in the vomit or stools that last longer than 24 hours, seek veterinary attention
- isolation – if they have a change in behavior like wanting to be on their own, away from people
- digging or chewing
- dilated pupils
- tense muscles
- excessive licking
Just like too much stimulation in the form of play, activity, travel, and doggie day care can be challenging to your dog, so is not enough attention or a change in routine. Moving to a new home or a new addition to the family are times when we need to be aware of our dog’s reaction.
A poor diet can also result in behavioural changes. I have had many dog owners say that a change to a whole food based diet stopped their dog’s obsessive licking.
What To Do?
1. Make sure your dog has enough exercise. It doesn’t have to be excessive. Dogs enjoy a brisk walk around the block with you as much as they enjoy a rousing game of fetch.
2. Create a safe, cozy place to escape if your dog is feeling overwhelmed by new things, people, or events. Make sure they have access to their favorite toys or blankets.
3. Choose a high quality dog food that is rich in easy to digest, real ingredients, with no preservatives or artificial colors that can cause stress on internal organs.
Your dog is happy when you are happy. Pay attention to your furry family and remember that they experience you through a multitude of senses. They probably know you better than you can ever imagine!