Or how to recognize and manage them easily
How can you recognize the signs of stress in your Whippet?
It’s scientifically recognized that dogs reduce their owners’ stress levels. And of course, Whippets are wonderful, sensitive dogs. They are no exception to this rule. Similarly, owning a Whippet has a significant anti-stress effect (well, it’s true, not always 🤣).
However, like all living things, your Whippet sometimes feels anxiety and pressure too. For example, we’ve all heard of a Whippet licking a spot until it bled. Or your Whippet may be suffering from separation anxiety. Not to mention the fact that you yourself are under stress now. And your Whippet feels this very strongly and soaks it up, like a little sponge!
Unfortunately, your Whippet doesn’t speak. So, he can’t express his emotions clearly to you. That’s why it’s vital to recognize the signs of stress in your Whippet. This will ensure his well-being and help you maintain a harmonious relationship with him.
So, let’s look at the most common signs of stress in Whippets and how best to manage them.
Signs that your Whippet is stressed:
1. Body language:
Whippets use their bodies to express their emotions, including stress. So, look out for certain tell-tale signs. Take your Whippet, for example: his ears are flat against his skull, or his tail is low or between his legs. Or his body is tense, and his pupils are dilated. Finally, he yawns frequently, more than usual. All these signals are, in fact, markers of stress. Similarly, he licks his lips or shows signs of agitation. He walks in circles or hides. He shakes, but not from the cold. If you observe all these signs carefully, you’ll be able to tell when your Whippet is stressed.
2. Behavioral changes:
Stress also manifests itself in behavioral fluctuations in your Whippet. He becomes more agitated, hides, refuses to eat, loses his appetite, has digestive problems, or shows signs of aggression or nervousness. He also exhibits compulsive behavior. For example, he licks himself excessively or scratches himself. He starts destroying your things, even though his Whippet’s adolescence years are long gone. He barks more than usual. So, watch out for any changes in his daily habits. Observe the way he interacts with you and his environment. Finally, if you notice any unusual changes, act quickly. The sooner you help him, the sooner your Whippet will regain his emotional balance.
3. Stressful environments:
The environment in which your Whippet lives can also be a source of stress. For example, loud noises, family conflicts or changes in daily routine. Or new and frightening situations. All these things cause stress in your companion. In other words, make sure you create a calm and secure environment for your Whippet. Give him a peaceful space. That way, he can retreat and feel safe when the need arises. Also, reduce loud noises and stressful stimuli as much as possible. Because a relaxed atmosphere will help to reduce his stress levels.
We’ve now identified the signs of stress in your Whippet. Now, what can you do to reduce and manage them as much as possible?
Managing your Whippet’s stress
If you notice any signs of stress in your Whippet, take the following steps to relieve it as quickly as possible:
1. Provide a stable environment:
First, provide your Whippet with a stable, predictable environment and atmosphere. Establish a regular routine. Whippets like to feel secure. So, try to prevent stressful situations as much as possible. Try, as far as possible, to feed and walk your Whippet at the same times every day, as Whippets like routine. It reassures them.
2. Using stress management techniques:
There are also various techniques for managing emotions. They are all beneficial for your Whippet. It’s up to you to find the one that suits him best.
Take, for example, therapeutic massage, aromatherapy, and soothing stroking sessions accompanied by soft music. These three relaxing methods are sure to help your Whippet unwind.
Divert his attention. Use interactive toys or food puzzles to stimulate his mind and distract him from stressful situations. Positive reward training also works very well. It promotes confidence and relaxation in your Whippet. Use treats and encouragement to reinforce calm and collected behavior.
3. Avoid stressful situations:
As far as possible, avoid situations that are sources of stress for your Whippet. If you know he reacts negatively to certain situations or stimuli, try to avoid, or minimize them. Take fireworks, for example. If they make him anxious, create a safe space inside the house. That way, he can take refuge there during these periods.
On the other hand, if encounters with other dogs are stressful for your Whippet. Consider going for walks in less-frequented areas. Or use a training lead for better control. Prevention is key to reducing stress.
4. Build trust and attachment:
To reduce stress in your Whippet, assert his confidence and show him affection. Establish a relationship based on trust, consistency, and love. Spend quality time with him, offering interactive play sessions and cuddle time. Use reward-based training techniques. This reinforces positive behavior and improves his self-confidence. When he feels safe and loved, your Whippet is better equipped to deal with stressful situations.
Regular exercise is also essential for reducing stress in Whippets. So, make sure you give them enough exercise. It should be adapted to his needs and age. Walks, play sessions or mental stimulation activities. Moving around and having fun helps your Whippet to naturally detach from stress. It improves his mood and helps him to relax.
6. Control the diet:
The food your Whippet eats inevitably influences his body. But also, his mind. So, if he’s suffering from gastrointestinal disorders due to stress, don’t hesitate to give him a more balanced diet. Think about providing him with a solid supply of vital nutrients. Certain food supplements or probiotics are sometimes necessary. All in all, they play a significant role in your child’s mood and well-being. So don’t hesitate! And consult your vet if necessary.
7. Use anti-stress supplements:
There are many anti-stress supplements available for pets. However, give preference to calming supplements with natural ingredients. For example, Bach flowers, CBD, essential oils, phytotherapy or homeopathy. But be careful not to do just anything either! It’s always best to seek professional advice.
In a nutshell
It’s essential to recognize the signs of stress in your Whippet and learn how to manage them. This is how you can help your Whippet lead a happy, balanced life.
You can help your Whippet to live a happy, serene life. All you must do is watch carefully for signs of unusual emotions. Create a soothing environment. Use stress management techniques. Build their confidence. Exercise and play. Modify their diet if necessary. Or take natural anti-stress supplements.
Whatever you do, never forget that your Whippet is a very sensitive animal. He feels all sorts of emotions, and you’re the one who holds the key. So, in the final analysis, listen to his needs. Offer him constant support. And finally, make sure he always feels safe and loved at every stage of his life.
Remember, too, to always consult a vet if you notice any persistent signs.
And, in any case, by working together, you’ll create a strong bond with your companion and give him the life he deserves.
- “Manifestations of chronic and acute stress in dogs” – Elsevier – Applied Animal Behavior Science: https://www.pawsoflife.org/Library/Health/Beerda_1997.pdf
- “Stress-Related Behaviors in Companion Dogs Exposed to Common Household Noises, and Owners’ Interpretations of Their Dogs’ Behaviors” – Frontiers in Veterinary Science: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2021.760845/full
- “The Friend Who Keeps You Young” – Johns Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-friend-who-keeps-you-young