Do Dogs Shed When Stressed?

Knowing how your dog is feeling is a very important factor in a loving relationship with your pet, and since your dog can’t communicate with you in ways that any other relationship would be able to, it is important to look out for physical signs that could indicate how your dog is feeling. Stress is something that is universally recognized throughout species, and dogs are no exception. It is crucial to know when our dog is stressed by looking at the physical signs that they indicate to us. One of which is shedding.

Yes, shedding is one of the common indicators of stress in dogs, but it isn’t the only one, and shedding doesn’t solely mean that your dog is stressed. In this article we will explore the symptoms that could indicate your dog is stressed, and also take a look at what else shedding could be indicated in your dog.

How Do I Tell If My Dog Is Stressed?

There are a number of things that could indicate if your dog is stressed. Although these symptoms could be from stress, it is important to note that these indicators could also be from other things too.

One thing you must remember is that every dog handle stress differently, and it is important to learn exactly how your dog handles stress to be able to notice these indicators. Here are a few indicators of stress that are shown in dogs.


Shedding is likely to increase when a dog is stressed or anxious, it is commonly seen in show dogs that become nervous in the show ring and is referred to as ‘blowing their coat’. It is also common for dogs to shed more when visiting the vet if they do not like the vet.

Sometimes shedding when stressed can be noticeable and other times, especially when outside, the shedding is minor and you don’t really notice it.

Braking, Whining And Yawning

When we’re stressed, we commonly vocalize, whether it be actually telling someone that we’re stressed or letting out a sigh or even a shout. Dogs aren’t much different, they will vocalize if they are stressed.

Dogs may whine and bark to either get your attention or to soothe themselves. It has also been found that dogs tend to yawn when stressed, this yawn is more prolonged than a sleepy yawn and can be more intense.

Avoidance Behavior 

Another thing that we do when we’re stressed is to try and get away from people and have as little social interaction as possible, just to calm ourselves down by ourselves. Again, dogs are very similar, in that if they are stressed, they may focus on something else such as licking their genitals or sniffing the ground.

They may also just turn away or leave the room to be on their own, if this is the case then it is important to respect your dog’s boundaries and leave them to be alone for a while.

Shaking And Pacing

Shaking in dogs can be quite normal in certain circumstances, after a bath or a dip in the river, however, in some other situations it could be a sign that your dog is stressed.

If your dog is shaking consistently and sometimes violently it is an indication that your dog is anxious. This is also true with pacing, anxious and stressed dogs may pace around a room or several rooms and take a repeated path as a sign of stress.

Changes In Body Posture

If your dog is healthy and has no orthopedic issues then they will bear their weight on all four of their legs the majority of the time. If you see that your dog has started shifting their weight to its rear legs then this could be a sign of stress.

This is also true with tail lowering, there are many reasons why a dog may lower their tail but one of them is that the dog could be stressed.

Changes In Eyes And Ears

When a person is stressed, they will normally have dilated eyes and start blinking rapidly, this is also common amongst dogs. If you see that your dog is opening their eyes wider than usual, showing more of the whites of the eyes, then this could be a sign of stress.

The ears are also a big sign of how your dog is feeling, although pinned back ears could mean several different things, they could also mean that your dog is feeling anxious or stressed.

Why Is My Dog Shedding?

If your dog is shedding then as mentioned before, it could very well be stress. However, this isn’t the only cause of shedding in dogs and it could be likely that your dog is shedding for different reasons. 

Shedding is a natural thing that dogs do, scientists aren’t exactly sure why dogs shed and why different species of dogs shed at different times and quantities, but they do and it is perfectly normal. Some breeds of dogs will shed only once a year with very little hair and other species could shed in as little as 30 days. Some breeds of dogs are very light shedders and some are very heavy shedders. It is important to know exactly how much shedding is normal in a certain period of time for your breed specifically.

Excessive shedding can indicate problems with your dog. These problems include stress, allergies, hormonal issues, parasites, fevers, spinal issues, dietary problems, skin conditions, and chemical imbalances. Although most of these problems will be indicated by other symptoms, the most common causes of excessive shedding in dogs are allergies and hormones. 

Excessive shedding can be a strong indicator that your dog is having an allergic reaction to part of their environment, a new drug, or something in their food. It is difficult to find out exactly what your dog may be allergic to, and similar to humans, it may just be a case of elimination until you find the culprit.

Excessive shedding can also be a sign of an imbalance in your dog’s hormones. A hormone imbalance often results in dry and brittle hair that will break and fall off. If you notice that your dog has dry and brittle hair and is shedding it, seek out your vet for some medication

Final Thoughts

Dogs can shed when stressed, but shedding doesn’t always indicate stress, it can be an indicator of a lot of things. If you are worried that your dog is stressed then it is also likely that they will show more than just one symptom of stress.

If your dog is shedding and you think it to be stress, then see if they are exhibiting any other signs of stress. If you are worried about your dog’s health then we always recommend that you seek out professional help from your vet.

Leave a Reply