How to Tell When Your Dog is Stressed

If you’re a dog owner, do you know how to tell when your dog is stressed out?

It feels like our dogs want to talk to us sometimes, especially when they give you a soul-piercing stare when they want something.

They simply can’t, and have to rely on other cues to express their feelings and concerns. As a result, they use warning signs and specific body language to let you know something is wrong.

If you know your dog and their routine, it should be easy to see something off. Then you can look into stress-relief options for dogs, which we’ll touch on below.

First, let’s address some of the most common stress signs in dogs.

Signs of a Stressed Dog

A woman petting her dog

A woman petting her dogIf you have to wonder if your dog is stressed, there’s a strong possibility there’s an issue you need to figure out.

There are tons of external factors that play a role in stressing dogs, such as younger kids, loud noises, changes in routine, and more.

Let’s identify some of the body language related to canine stress.

Excessive Licking

Sure, dogs are known to lick, but there is such a thing as excessive licking. When excessive licking happens, it’s often a sign of an underlying health condition.

One of the most common causes associated with excessive licking in dogs is allergies. Some of the environmental factors related to allergies like dust, dirt, pollen, and dander can accumulate on dog fur, causing them to lick.

However, licking from stress is also very common because it’s a way for them to soothe themselves. An excellent way to test this method is paying attention to your dog a little more, especially when you engage in some activity you know makes them uneasy.

Do they start licking during the activity or soon after?

Tucked Tail

Dogs wag their tails when they’re happy, so when you see their tail tucked, it’s a good indication they may be fearful or stressed.

This isn’t always the case because some dogs choose to express themselves differently.

However, you can be sure something is going on if the tail isn’t bouncing side to side as usual.

Whimpering or Crying

When you hear your pup whining and crying, you immediately begin to worry. This is one of the first things to watch out for when you suspect your dog is stressed.

Ear Position

Dog ears come in various shapes, sizes, and natural sitting positions. Pay close attention to how your dog’s ears are when they’re relaxed.

Do they stand up?

Or are they laid back, resting on the head?

When they’re stressed, you’ll see the ears take on the opposite position.

Whites of the Eyes

When dogs are feeling stressed or anxious, you’ll see the white of their eyes. Since they’re limited in communication capabilities, they heavily rely on the eyes at times. Also, you might notice the pupils are dilated with rapid eye movement.


Dogs yawn when they’re tired, but it also happens when they’re stressed. We know, it’s not something you’d typically associate with dog stress, right?

How to tell the difference?

A stress yawn is longer and more intense.

Abnormal Shedding

Abnormal shedding is one of the most common first signs of stress a dog exhibits.

In fact, some show dogs get stressed out and “blow their coats” during shows, but it can happen to any dog experiencing acute or chronic stress.

What You Can Do About It

A cute white dog sitting on a chair

A cute white dog sitting on a chairIf your dog is feeling stressed lately, there are plenty of things you can do about it. For starters, many pet owners find success in adding some exercise into the pet’s routine.

Exercise should be a staple in your dog’s life because it provides an outlet for excess energy and establishes a routine for them, and we all know our furry friends thrive off routine.

Here are a few ways to exercise your dog. You can take a walk around the block, a trip to the local dog park, or let them visit a doggie day camp to socialize and play (approach this with caution if you have a naturally-shy pup).

Keep in mind that mental stimulation is equally important. You can encourage this with different types of dog toys to figure out how to get to the treat.

CBD for pets is another great option because it works naturally within their endocannabinoid system. All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, which influences some of the body’s primary functions like pain, stress, sleep, mood, and more.

Furthermore, CBD is known for providing a wide range of therapeutic benefits. One of the most popular is full-body relaxation. Adding CBD oil to your pet’s daily routine is a great way to enhance their well being.

Plus, there’s a wide variety of CBD pet treats and tinctures available to choose from.

How to Give Your Dog CBD

If you decide to introduce your pup to CBD, you may have a few questions going into it. Dog owners often wonder how much CBD to start with.

We always suggest starting with lower concentrations and working your way up. This way, you find the perfect amount without passing it up.

Some worry they’re not seeing any real change after a few days. If this happens to you, make sure you maintain the serving schedule and allow the cannabinoids to build up in the system.

Mammals produce their own endocannabinoids. Sometimes, the natural level is low and has to be built up to connect with cannabinoids from the CBD product.

Like humans, dogs are unique in their own ways—metabolism, genetics, body chemistry, weight, etc. All of these factor into how CBD works in your dog’s body.

Creating a CBD routine for your dog takes time, but once you do, you and your furry friend are golden!

Parting Thoughts for Dog Owners

It’s natural to worry about your dog’s wellbeing. After all, they’re your fur baby, and it’s your job to pay attention to them and take care of them.

It’s not surprising dogs get stressed out—we all get stressed from time to time.

What matters is identifying the issue and finding an effective solution. But don’t worry, you can use any of the tips above to help your dog minimize stress and live a happier life.

Thinking it’s time for your dog to try CBD?
Explore our collection of high-quality CBD pet products today!

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