By Amanda French September 17, 2020
How Dogs Sense Our Emotions
Dogs have long been our four-legged best friends. They always seem to know when we're happy or sad, feeling silly or stressed, or when we need a cuddle or two.
Dogs can sense how we're feeling by interpreting our body language and our voice frequencies. They're very observant and can pick up on subtle changes in our emotions based on the way we move or the expressions on our faces.
In times of stress, our dogs are ready to comfort us, but does the canine ability to understand and empathize with our emotions put them at greater risk for becoming anxious themselves?
Is Human Anxiety Contagious to Dogs?
Dogs often look to us for cues on how to interact with their world. Our furry friends are calm and confident when we are. But when we're feeling "out of sorts," our pups are more likely to be on high alert and begin looking for the source of our anxiety.
That means we can pass on elevated stress levels to our dogs, which usually shows up as a lack of interest in normal activities, in both us and our pups. Dogs are creatures of habit, and they'll notice right away when something is different about their days.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs
Worried that your dog is feeling anxious? Keep an eye out for these common symptoms of canine stress:
- Suddenly chewing on household items
- Accidents when already house trained
- Increased barking, whining, or pacing
- Excessive panting, drooling, or shaking
- Suddenly attempting to escape the yard
Now that you know how to identify anxiety in dogs, let's talk about how to help a stressed-out pup...
How to Help Your Dog Feel Less Anxious
One of the best ways you can help your four-legged best friend stay anxiety-free is by taking care of yourself. Be sure to practice good self-care and reach out to your doctor if nothing seems to be helping.
If your pup's still feeling anxious, here are some tips that might help:
Stick with a routine. You don't have to do the same things, day in and day out, but keeping a similar schedule every week will help your dog know what to expect and will keep him calm.
Take daily walks. A regular exercise regimen will give your dog a healthy way to burn off nervous energy and give him something to look forward to each day.
Try some mental stimulation. Puzzle feeders are a great way to keep your dog's mind engaged and off of stressful situations.
Spread the love around. Don't forget to give your pup plenty of affection! Studies have shown that petting a dog reduces anxiety in both humans and their furry friends.
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