Signs that Your Dog or Cat is Stressed

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Michigan Home Pet Care Pet Nanny

No doubt, there is nothing like the love and companionship we get from our pets. When it comes to our furry friends, we want nothing but the best. Which is why it pains us deeply whenever we see them suffering or unhappy.

Stress in our pets may appear in various forms. Below, we provide a short guide on signs that your dog or cat may be suffering from stress or anxiety. Remember that the sooner you recognize these signs, the sooner you can address them and the sooner you make a difference in their quality of life.

Body Language

Let’s begin with the more obvious indicators such as our pets’ body language. If they are behaving out of the ordinary, take note that it could possibly be due to stress. A simple way to decipher a dog’s disposition is through the tail. If it’s wagging uncontrollably, more often than not, it means they’re happy or excited to see you. On the other hand, if their tails are tucked in between their legs, this is a sure sign of anxiousness or distress. Other tells would be excessive trembling or unstable footsteps. Facial expressions also make good indicators. Happy dogs will have their eyebrows and ears raised with their tongues hanging out of their open mouths. If their eyebrows are furrowed or ears are tucked or pinned back, they may be scared, nervous or lonely.


A dog growling and baring its teeth or a cat hissing is a sign of aggression and should be handled with caution. Be wary that they may direct their aggression towards other pets, family members or even themselves. Although known to be adamant groomers, extreme compulsive licking is a sign of an unhealthy feline. This condition, referred to as psychogenic alopecia, is a self-comforting mechanism for cats. In times of high stress, a cat may over-groom its belly or front legs, licking themselves raw or bald in the process. Destructive scratching, clawing, chewing or biting is also seen as a sign of high stress in our pets. Dogs and cats respond best to calm yet assertive treatment from people they trust.

Avoidance or Isolation

Cats and dogs will sometimes take to hiding when faced with situations they are unable or reluctant to deal with. While not as dangerous as aggression, it still pays to take notice of such behaviors. It could also be a sign that they are suffering from an illness or worse. Increased sleeping is also not to be taken lightly. If your pet is showing signs of being overly lethargic, often it is an early sign that they are sick, injured or traumatized. A good solution for this is to provide them with increased energy through a daily exercise routine.


Over-anxious cats also tend to vocalize their distress by meowing more than usual or with a panicked/desperate tone. These are signs that they are uncomfortable or are in need of your immediate attention. Dogs on the other hand excessively bark or whine when they are left alone for too long or if they are aggravated. Try observing these behaviors and find ways to sooth them when it happens.

Unnatural Eating and Digestive Issues

Loss or increase in appetite in our pets is another thing we need to take note of. Unhealthy weight losses or gains could be a response to psychological or physiological stress. Some causes may be malfunctioning digestive tracks or food poisoning. A cat or dog suffering from diarrhea or constipation, or one that is constantly vomiting should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible, especially if there is blood in the mix. Make sure to check their litter box as often as possible.

These are only some of the basic signs of stress in our dogs and cats. Playing and exercising with our pets regularly are excellent stress-reducers. Because our presence is a crucial source of reassurance for our pets; they may feel separation anxiety when we are away for long periods of time. Unfortunately, sometimes due to our busy and conflicting schedules, there will undoubtedly be times when we must leave our pets unattended. At, we offer the best pet-sitting services from feeding, watering, exercising, walking, playing, cleaning up and lovingly caring for them.

Call us today at 734-981-6108 or use our on-line contact form and we will be in touch as quickly as possible.

You can also stay connected with Pet Nanny through our social media accounts: Facebook Fan Page | Twitter Account | Google+ Listing | YouTube Channel



Comments are closed.