Ways to Tell if Your Pet is Stressed

Ways to Tell if Your Pet is Stressed

Mar 25, 2022
12 min

For many reasons, humans encounter stress daily. It turns out that pets get stressed out as well. Stress in pets may result from pain or any event that makes them feel fearful, bored, frustrated, anxious, or depressed.

It’s difficult to tell if you’ve got a stressed pet in your home or not. The only thing you can do is to watch out for any behavioral changes because most pets communicate using body language.

Learning your pet’s way of communication can help reduce their stress levels and prevent any potentially dangerous situations from arising.

Signs of Stress in Pets

Here are some of the common signs of stress in pets to help you recognize if your pet is stressed.

Excessive Meowing, Whining, or Barking

It’s normal for pets to bark, meow, or whine, but intense vocalization could be a sign that your pet is under stress. Stressed pets make fierce sounds to get your attention. They are trying to hint that something is causing them anxiety.

Loss of Appetite

If your pet is suddenly refusing to eat or drink, it’s a sign of stress. The stress may not be entirely emotional, but rather from illness or physical pain your pet is experiencing. Other pets may refuse to eat because they are depressed or frustrated.

Pacing or Shaking

Some shaking and pacing occurs as a result of a stressful situation. Like humans, some pets like dogs pace back and forth when agitated or anxious. You must find out what’s causing this behavior to find a solution as soon as possible.


It’s okay for your dog to pant when it’s hot or just after exercising. However, your dog could be experiencing stress if you notice him panting even though it’s not hot and he has not participated in any kind of exercise.

Hiding or Escape Behavior

Pets tend to hide when they are tense. They may move behind their owners or slink behind any object to hide. This could be a sign of stress, especially if your pet has never behaved like this before.

Scratching Furniture

Scratching furniture often happens in cats for many reasons. They do so in an attempt to communicate information about their territory and security. Other cats scratch surfaces and household attempts as a way to self-soothe when stressed.

Growling or Hissing

Pets normally growl because they are anxious about a particular situation. Many people often mistake growling as aggressive behavior. It’s not always the case since it could mean that your pet is feeling threatened, someone is in their space, or he could be hurting.

Vomiting & Diarrhea

Sick pets vomit and have diarrhea when they are sick or stressed. Stress and anxiety trigger gastrointestinal upsets in pets, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea. It’s important to check with your vet before administering any treatment.

Drooling, Yawning, Licking, and Exaggerated Swallowing

Pets yawn when they are stressed, tired, and bored. You can easily differentiate a stressful yawn since it’s more prolonged and extreme. Sometimes the yawn is even teamed up with lip licking. Nervous pets also drool excessively.

Changes in Ear Posture

Change in ear posture is more prominent in dogs. It tells you more about your dog’s state of mind. Dogs pin their ears behind their heads whenever they are stressed. The dog keeps rotating the ears from back to sideways, showing uncertainty.

Changes in Eyes

You’ll also notice changes in your pet’s eyes. Rapid and excessive blinking is a sign of stress in dogs. Stressed dogs also have dilated pupils. They show more sclera than usual when they are focusing on something.


Crouching behavior in pets is the first sign of fear and defensiveness. Cats normally exhibit crouching whenever they feel threatened. They bend their knees, flatten their bodies and ears as if to avoid being seen. Interacting with a cat in such a position could end nicely or poorly.


Pets bite because they are in fear or when they feel threatened. It happens when they are exposed to too much noise and too many new people. This stimulates anxiety and stress causing them to bite.

How to Deal with Stressed Pets

First, you need to understand why your pet is stressed. There are lots of ways you can help a stressed pet. The following are some of the best ways you can utilize to calm your pet.

Exercise Your Pet

Exercise is very important to pets. It lowers your pet’s blood pressure and helps him have healthy bones. You can eliminate your cat’s boredom and stimulate their mental wellbeing using a 5-in-1 Wooden Scratching Post. It’s an interactive toy that will reduce behavioral problems caused by stress in cats.

Keep your dog healthy and limber while reducing their behavioral problems using Absolute Holistic Dental Chew Peanut Butter. These chews eliminate anxiety-related behaviors and other problems such as excessive licking, chewing, and barking in dogs.

Entertain Your Pet

There are many ways to entertain stressed pets. You can teach your pet a new trick, play hide and seek, or teach your dog to fetch. Dogit Bomber Ball Toy is great for playing fetch games with your pet.

You can also try Spunkypup Chew Bone if your pet is a tough chewer. The chew bone from Spunky Pup is made of a super tough nylon center so you can be sure of longevity.

Feed Your Pet Treats

Feeding treats to a stressed pet may divert his attention from the trigger. It may not work for pets who are in extreme pain, but it will work for several anxiety behaviors. Try meat treats such as the Absolute Holistic Air-Dried Meat because pets often find it irresistible.

Don’t Punish Your Pet

Stay nice and calm and don’t punish your pet for showing strange behaviors. Most pets are very sensitive to their owner’s emotions. Punishing them may even worsen the situation. An aggressive pet may start biting if punished.

Check With Your Vet

See your vet if your pet does not stop displaying aggressive and other problematic behaviors. The veterinarian will be able to find out what’s causing the behavior and recommend a solution.

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