top of page

7 Subtle Signs Your Dog May Be Anxious

Apart from the obvious ways your dog tells you he is stressed like barking, whining and making haste to get out of a situation, did you know that your dog ‘whispers’ that he is uncomfortable way before you see the bigger acts of stress when he has to ‘shout’ to be heard?

Have you noticed any of these whispers?

  1. Whiskers – are your dog’s whiskers mobile – do you notice them moving more than normal? This is a communication tool between dogs which may indicate increasing stress levels.

  2. Heavy breathing or panting – is your dog breathing heavily or panting even though it is not hot? Increased stress levels can cause body chemistry changes which cause these behaviours.

  3. Intense licking – is your dog licking an area over and over – almost obsessively? This can be a way to self soothe if your dog feels anxious.

  4. Sleeping more – does your dog seems really tired? It could be stress – when high levels of stress hormones decrease it can leave your dog more tired than normal.

  5. Paw Lifting - Some dogs are bred or trained to indicate by lifting a paw such as a hunting or detection dogs, However in the pet dog a paw lift can be a sign that he is worried, particularly if it is coupled with other signs your dog is anxious.

  6. Eating - Dog’s normally clear their bowls readily. Any inappetence should always be checked by your Vet but it could also be a sign of stress. The chemical released during a scary event can cause your dog to feel nauseous.

  7. Red Eyes – some dogs when they have long term stress and anxiety have a congested conjunctiva which may make the eyes look red.

To alleviate stress, anxiety and ill health in years gone by, our dog’s wild ancestors would have self medicated on plants from their environment to help them calm and return to balance, this is called Botanical Self Selection or Zoopharmacognosy to give it it's proper title.

Nowadays we expect our dogs to live in our world with the choices we make for them, sometimes this can lead to behavioural and confidence issues. If you have identified one or more of these whispers, then your dog will benefit from confidence building. Author: Tracy Brind


Recent Posts

See All


Get occasional newsletters and info on the latest posts, courses, workshops & free stuff

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page