Common Signs of Stress in Dogs and Cats

Common Signs of Stress in Dogs and Cats

Stress in our fur friends are way more common than we think. At times the signs are so subtle we miss out on noticing them. Occasionally stressed pet can show signs of disinterest or aggression. Hence, it is important to know the signs of stress in your pets and how you can help them.

Here are a few basic signs of stress in your pets and what you can do to relieve it.

  1. Excessive licking or grooming:

Licking is a calming, self-soothing activity for both dogs & cats, hence if you see them obsessively grooming themselves, or licking around their nose and mouth, it is a sign of distress.

  1. Whale eyes or dilated pupils:

Another common sign of stress in pets is whale eyes. Notice if you see whites of your pet in a certain situation. They generally appear in the inner corner of your pet’s eyes.

  1. Increased Vocalisation:

When stressed your dog might bark constantly or your cat might be more vocal. This is more evident during festive season when the fireworks go off causing stress in them.

  1. Isolation:

Your pets love to be around you 24/7 asking for attention, but suddenly they start isolating themselves, this is a sign that they are not happy.

  1. Decrease in appetite:

We all know how much our fur babies love to eat, if they could they’d eat more than they should on a normal day. So if suddenly your pet suddenly seem disinterest in food, or doesn’t eat at all, this could be a sign of anxiety.

  1. Aggression:

If your pet starts getting aggressive towards you or your family members or any other pets, this could be a sign your pet is stressed and needs to be taken to a veterinarian. Aggressive signs could be accompanied by a fearful body posture & facial expression.

  1. Destructiveness:

When your cat starts scratching the furniture or your carpet aggressively one day, it could be a sign your pet is anxious, no matter how annoying it can get, it is necessary to be patient in this situation and provide them with an option like a cat tree or a scratcher. Similarly, if your dog starts to destroy furniture, make sure they get enough exercise, stimulation and their favorite toys, chew toys come in handy at such times.

How to help relieve stress in pets:

Luckily there are multiple things you can try to help your pet while they are stressed or anxious.  Below are some ways to help them reduce their anxiety:

  1. Exercise:

The most beneficial way to ensure to get rid of your pet’s anxiety is exercise. You can always go for options like indoor agility games if you aren’t able to go outdoors

  1. Mental stimulation:

The other option apart from physical exercise for your pets is mental stimulation. Try getting a puzzle toy which can keep them engaged and distract them from what’s causing them stress

  1. Toys:

Toys can be a great distraction for your pets. Get your dog a chew toy, chewing is inherently calming for dogs. You can get a rope toy for your cats to help them distract themselves

  1. Scratchers:

Scratching comes as a most natural habit in cats, they scratch to trim their nails and to keep them clean, in a situation where your cat is stressed, a scratcher can come in handy and help them relieve stress

  1. Slow feeders:

Licking is another calming activity for pets, but when they do it excessively it can cause health issues as well as hair loss. Try encouraging them to lick something else instead of themselves, in this case a slow feeder can be really helpful. Put in your pet’s favorite treat and that will keep them busy.


  1. Consult a Vet:

If neither of these tips work, maybe it is time to take your pet to a vet and get them checked.