Tips For Dog Lovers: How To Know If Your Dog Is Stressed

Humans are fairly familiar with stress. Anxiety and worry are often manifested in how a person looks. What many are not aware of is how stress can affect our pets too.

A new study shows that dogs who often feel anxious are more likely to develop gray muzzles than the calmer ones. According to Camille King, this is the first research that aims to investigate premature praying of dogs. King is a Colorado-based veteran animal behaviourist who also co-authored the research.

"I was not at all surprised by the results," said King. "For many years, I noticed that dogs I saw in my practice for anxiety or impulsivity issues were often graying early," she added.

"I immediately thought of the presidents," Temple Grandin added. Garmin is also a co-author of the study and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. "Every single one of the presidents has looked horrible at the end of the presidency... they aged quickly," he added.

King and her fellow researchers took photos of 400 young dogs aged 1 to 4. The photos were taken during their visits in dog shows and dog parks. At the same time, they requested the owners to complete a questionnaire that collected information on the ratings of each dog's level of anxiety, fear, and impulsivity. The questionnaire aimed to confirm if the dogs whined, and barked in certain circumstances such as being left at home.

Results revealed that the dogs who exhibited higher levels of impulsivity and anxiety have become more gray around the muzzle. The results have been consistent regardless of the size, medical issues or whether they have been neutered or spayed.

Specifically, the muzzle grayness "significantly predicted" that dogs experience fear from unfamiliar animals, loud noises, and strangers.

Results also revealed that female dogs show higher levels of gray. King confirmed that there is not specific explanation to this. King guessed this may be related to hormones. Grandin added that females have the tendency to feel more anxiety-as seen in other animals.

"It is interesting that for many years, I have given anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medications to individuals with mental health problems. And now we use the same medications for canines," King said.

King also works as a nurse for people suffering with severe anxiety problems. She confirmed having seen parallelisms both in humans and in dogs.

"It is interesting that for many years, I have given anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medications to individuals with mental health problems. And now we use the same medications for canines," King said.

King confirmed that people who are anxious have tendencies to avoid situations/ instances that cause their anxiety. Similarly, dogs also avoid environments that make them nervous. King believes that humans and canines experience similarities when addressing their anxieties.

The study serves as valuable information to dog owners who may notice premature muzzle greying, especially in young dogs. King confirms that this could be an indicator of fear, anxiety or impulsivity problems. She further recommends consultation with veterinarians as genetic factors may also be a factor.

Veterinarians can develop programs that can modify behaviours including ways to desensitise and counter condition specific situations enabling the dog to develop better skills in coping.

© 2022 iTech Post All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

More from iTechPost