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Manage Stress in Boston Terriers

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Did you ever wonder if your dog is stressed?  Do you know the symptoms of stress in a Boston Terrier?  Do you know how to manage stress in Boston Terriers?

Stress in dogs can come from a variety of sources, including trauma, physical restraint, change of routine, boredom and separation, to name a few. Being aware of these things can help you minimize stress in your dog’s life.

“It’s a dog’s life.” How often have we heard that? But what is it really like to be a pet dog living in a human home? Try to see it from the dog’s point of view. You spend a lot of time indoors by yourself when your owners are at work. And while it’s true that they provide your meals for you, your food is always just sitting there in a bowl; it would be nice sometimes to chase it or play with it before you eat it. Yes, they take you out, but so often it’s just for a walk around the block. Then it’s back to the house with nothing much to do. The boredom sometimes just stresses you out.

Causes of stress

At the recent annual convention of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Melissa Bain, DVM, a veterinary behavior specialist associated with the Animal Behavior Resources Institute, delivered a presentation on the subject of Behavioral Enrichment for dogs. According to Bain, stress in dogs can come from a variety of causes. Among the most common are:

Trauma, whether as the result of accident or mistreatment
Physical restraint
Confinement
Change of routine
Noise
Boredom/lack of stimulation
Separation
Unwanted interactions, such as with overly aggressive people or other dogs

Signs of stress may include one or more of the following:

Whining
Yawning
Hiding
Drooling
Lip licking
Dilated pupils
Repetitive behaviors
Aggression, such as biting, growling, or snarling
Lack of bowel or bladder control
Loss of appetite or overeating
Other unusual behaviors

Occasional stress is a normal part of a dog’s life, just as it is a part of human life, and is usually not the cause of any long-term problem. However, stressful events or circumstances that are constant or repeated can lead to symptoms of chronic stress and take an emotional — and often physical – toll on a dog, as it does on people.

Once you recognize the existence of the problem, you can take concrete steps to ease your dog’s stress. Just like people, dogs need an active life with varied activities and relationships.

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One of the best ways I have found to manage stress in Boston Terriers is to play.  My Boston Terriers love to play with a large plastic beach ball.  They chase after it, bounce it into walls, cupboards, and doors, and flip the ball in the air.

Another toy my Boston Terriers use to manage stress is a plastic bone.  They will chew on it for hours.

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