How to Tell Your Dog is Stressed While Traveling - The Pawsh Dog Winnipeg
How to Tell Your Dog is Stressed While Traveling

Stress is a commonly used word that describes feelings of strain or pressure. Our dogs can become stressed too. Since we know how stress makes us feel, we certainly want to help alleviate our pet’s stress as well. However, our dogs cannot voice their feelings so how can we tell they are stressed? The signs of anxiety in dogs are often subtle. In fact, some stress-related behaviors mimic normal behaviors especially when traveling.We, humans can often be distracted during travel therefore not being able to distinguish between the two behaviours.

Remember that stress is not always bad. Fear is a stress-related emotion that prompts us to avoid potentially dangerous situations. So, stress may actually be a protector. Regardless, stress is part of travel for us and our dogs, so we should learn how best to deal with it.

Alternatively,  if you decide not to take your pooch on travelling with you because it will be too stressful – call us at 204-813-9054. We’ll be happy to show them around our Pawsh Dog Hotel, a safe and luxurious home alternative for dogs. Or The Pawsh Dog also offers private training and daycamp socialization to prepare your dog for your trip.  Whatever you decide – our professional staff will gladly answer any questions you may have so that you can comfortably find a solution for your anxious dog.

Physical Signs of Stress During Travel

Shaking or Pacing 
Dogs, like people pace when agitated. Some dogs walk a repeated path or shake when nervous.

Whining or barking 
Vocalization is normal self-expression in dogs but may be intensified when they are under stress. Dogs that are afraid or tense may whine or bark to get your attention, or to self soothe.

Yawning, drooling, and licking
Dogs yawn when they are tired or bored, they also yawn when stressed. A stressful yawn is more prolonged and intense than a sleepy yawn. Dogs may also drool and lick excessively when nervous.

Changes in eyes and ears 
Stressed dogs, like stressed people, may have dilated pupils and blink rapidly. They may open their eyes really wide and show more sclera (white) than usual, giving them a startled appearance. Ears that are usually relaxed or alert are pinned back against the head.

Changes in Body Posture 
Dogs normally bear even weight on all four legs. If a healthy dog with no orthopedic problems shifts his weight to his rear legs or cowers, he may be exhibiting stress. When scared, dogs may also tuck their tails or become quite rigid.

Although less noticeable in outside settings, such as visiting a new dog park, shedding increases when a dog is anxious. Show dogs that become nervous in the show ring often “blow their coat”.

Dogs pant when hot, excited, or stressed. If your dog is panting even though he has not exercised, he may be experiencing stress.

Changes in Bodily Functions
Like people, nervous dogs can feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. When your dog urinates shortly after meeting a new canine friend, he may be marking territory and reacting to the strain simultaneously. Refusal of food and loss of bowel function are also stress indicators.