Your Nerves Might Be Hurting Your Dog's Health: Here's How to Live Stress-Free With Your Pet

You're nervous about your dog's safety. It's natural. Any good pet owner has a general love and care for the well-being of their furry friend. But your nervous instincts can take a major toll on the health of your pet. Dogs can sense nervous, worried energy, and form their own reactions around it. That means your thoughts about your dog's wellbeing may actually be harming it.

German Shepard Puppy
A German Shepherd puppy experiences snow for the first time during a snowfall January 21, 2014, in Manassas, Virginia. KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty

Haeleigh Hyatt, Director of Training at SpotOn Virtual Dog Fence, explained to Newsweek why this is such a big problem. "Just like in people, stress can cause serious physical and emotional issues in dogs," she said. "Physically, dogs can experience issues with gastrointestinal health, loss of hair and weakening of the cardiovascular system. While this may sound extreme, it is very common among dogs who have experienced long-term emotional and physical strife."

Hyatt also noted this can cause significant behavioral changes, even in well-behaved dogs: "Dogs can also begin to act out as a coping mechanism for stress, resorting to begging, digging, barking and much more."

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SpotOn ran a survey on the worrying nature of pet owners, and found that 71 percent of those surveyed claimed they're "generally nervous for their dog's safety." So, the company aimed to make trust between dogs and owners, and a sense of safety anywhere, a priority. SpotOn Virtual Dog Fence is a collar that allows owners to make virtual boundaries for their dog anywhere, from their own home to the park. It's one way to reduce the fear of your dog running off, but there are other ways to foster that sense of trust.

Hyatt noted a collar and leash can be a saving grace. "Finding products, like a leash or harness, that the owner trusts is arguably the most important aspect of a confident relationship with their dog," she said. "Owners also should find a schedule that works best for them and their pets, whether this be consistent walks or routine feeding times, dogs will learn to trust that you are there for their well-being which will reduce stress."

Establishing a set routine is critical, and will eliminate stress for the dog as well as their owner. Hyatt also noted that higher stress levels may be more apparent in high-energy dogs.

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Your Nerves Might Be Hurting Your Dog's Health: Here's How to Live Stress-Free With Your Pet | Culture