Recognizing the symptoms of stress

In dogs, signs of either form of stress — positive or negative — are muscle tremors; excessive panting and drooling; sweaty feet that leave tracks on dry, hard surfaces; dilated pupils; and, in extreme cases, urination; defecation (usually in the form of diarrhea); self-mutilation; and anxiety.

Anxiety is a state of apprehension and uneasiness. When anxiety is prolonged, two things happen:

1 The ability to learn and think is clearly diminished and ultimately stops. It can also cause a panic attack.

1 It depresses the immune system, thereby increasing your chances of becoming physically ill. It affects your dog in the same way. The weakest link in the chain is attacked first. If the dog has structural flaws, such as weak pasterns (the region of foreleg between the wrist and digits), he may begin to limp or show signs of pain. Digestive upsets are another common reaction to stress.

Stress, in and of itself, isn't bad or undesirable. A certain level of stress is vital for the development and healthy functioning of the body and its immune system. It's only when stress has no behavioral outlet — when the dog is put in a no-win situation — that the burden of coping is born by the body, and the immune system starts to break down.

Dog Care Duty

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