Signs of stress in dogs

Signs of stress in dogs

6 common dog myths Reading Signs of stress in dogs 5 minutes Next Why does my dog bark so much?

As sad as it may sound, dogs can feel stressed too. It is quite incomprehensible why the greatest creature on earth has to face these horrible feelings us humans face, but it is what it is. What we can do is learn how to recognize when our pups are feeling stressed, and do whatever’s in our power to help them. 

Since dogs can’t express their feelings verbally, we have to learn their language, the body language. By doing so, we’ll be able to figure out when our dog is feeling stressed, so we can take them out of that situation. 

Before going over the most common signs dogs give when they’re feeling stressed, you should keep in mind that if you identify these behaviors in your dogs, then you should probably do something about it. 

One of the best things you can do, after consulting with your vet, is giving your dog calming treats that will help them deal with their feelings. 

If you want to learn more about anxiety in dogs, then you should probably read this article. 


But wait, doesn’t yawning mean you’re tired? Well, it does. But for dogs, it could also mean they’re feeling stressed. It’s pretty easy to tell if a dog is yawning because they are feeling tired or anxious.

If they are yawning right before going to bed or after a long and exhausting play session, then you can assume they are just tired. Nevertheless, if you are in a context that has even the remote chance of being stressful for your dog, then they’re probably anxious because of it. You just need to look for the other signs and take the context into consideration.

Excessive licking

This is another behavior that can be the symptom of more than one thing. A dog can be excessively licking either their paws or face because they feel stressed or because they have another health condition, such as allergies or arthritis. 

Once again, it all depends on the context. If you perceive that your dog is surrounded by a context that can be triggering for them, such as an extremely crowded place, then they are displaying this behavior due to stress.


If a dog’s panting because it’s really hot outside or because they have just had the run of their life, then there probably isn’t anything to worry about. But if a dog’s panting even though they haven’t done any exercise and they don’t seem like they’re hot, then something’s going on.

Panting is a clear sign of stress that you should always be on the lookout for. 


Dogs are pretty active beings. When they are not sleeping, they seem to be constantly going from here to there. If you see a dog that’s clearly not relaxed on their bed, all of a sudden turns stiff and still, then they are probably feeling stressed.

This tends to happen a lot before a dog reacts aggressively towards another dog or person. If you see that your dog happily goes to greet and sniff a new dog, but all of a sudden becomes really really stiff, then the best thing you could do is call your doggo to avoid a fight. 


While stiffness can be a sign of stress, its contrary can be so too. If a pup can’t stop moving, going from here to there, shaking and just doing anything but being still, then they probably are feeling stressed.

If you are in the park and your dog is constantly running, they’re clearly not stressed. But if you take them to the vet or to a crowded place and they can’t stay still in those situations, then pacing probably is a sign of stress. 

Whining and barking

Apart from their body language, dogs can also express their stress with their vocals. When you think of dogs, then you probably can’t help but listen to a bark in the distance. That’s because the majority of dogs are pretty fond of barking. This can make it quite hard to identify as a sign of stress. 

The best way to figure out if a dog’s barking because they are stressed is, once again, with the context. If they seem to have reasons to be scared, anxious or stressed, then their constant barking is probably due to that.

Whining is not that common in dogs though, making it easier to pin out as a sign of stress. 

Changes in eyes and ears

Dogs’ eyes and ears are also a key indicator of stress. If they are feeling anxious, their eyes will probably start to show more of their white area. They can also start to blink rapidly and even have dilated pupils.

A stressed dog’s ears are easy to identify too, since they will get pinned back against their head.

Subscribe to our community

Get exclusive discounts and tips on pet health!

Free U.S. shipping

Free U.S. shipping on orders $50+