Lucy will have you know that she had quite the morning today. We had a vet appointment to get her annual senior wellness exam as she is getting up there in age and we want to make sure that she is healthy. (If you see me chasing after her with a cup on the street later, it’s because I have to get the awesome doctors at Park Slope Veterinary pee and poop samples.)
As we were waiting to be seen, I decided to capture picture and video of Lucy’s stress signals to illustrate to the world what to look for. I’m sure you’ve seen your dogs exhibit a lot of these signs while feeling uneasy, even if you didn’t understand the meaning behind them. Though there may be some really obvious indicators of stress, such as her panting in the video, can you spot the more subtle ones?
Take note of the wrinkles on the face around her mouth as well as the frown lines on her forehead. Her ears are upright in a more alert position than relaxed. When she is not stress panting, her jaw is clenched tight. Other things that I saw that aren’t reflected in the video are: pacing, rapid lip licking, and excessive (EXCESSIVE!) shedding. She also turned pink, which is something to look for in light coated dogs. Other things that you might see in a stressed dog are: shaking off (as if they were wet), yawning, lifting a front paw, displacement scratching or sniffing (random scratching of their own body or random smelling of the ground).
Poor Lucy got jabbed with at least two needles today for blood work and her Rabies 3-year vaccine and also got a finger up the rear end because her anal glands needed to be expressed. I think the fantastic belly rub she got from the vet tech during the exam cushioned the blow, but yes, as we can all see… she was certainly stressed.