Many things in life will cause stress. This is true in humans as well as our pets. Some of these signs may be unnoticeable for many pet owners who are not familiar with the specific breed of animal they have, however, with the Blue Merle Aussie, there are a few signs that you can pick up and hone in on.
Why Do Our Dogs Become Stressed?
Dogs will become stressed for a wide variety of reasons. The Blue Merle Aussie will become stressed from separation anxiety, lack of activity, poor diet, and overall health issues. You will also want to maintain their coat and overall grooming to ensure that small issues with discomfort don’t come into play.
Poor Grooming Efforts
The Blue Merle Aussie should be groomed by a professional that understands the breed. Their coat is thick and can easily become entangled. The coat on your Blue Merle Aussie should never go too short since it does help regulate their body temperature.
Focusing your Blue Merle Aussie's attention while grooming is also a good idea. Giving them a treat or a toy like Calming Zen Chews will give them something familiar and comforting, alienating stress and anxiety
The Blue Merle Aussie is a great companion for most people. One of the things that you want to look for is hearing problems over time. One cause will be a general buildup of wax in their ears. During the general grooming of your Blue Merle Aussie it's a good idea to have their ears checked. As they get older, hearing problems could become greater, with a loss of hearing altogether. This condition is known as congenital deafness and could cause your Blue Merle Aussie to have increased stress and anxiety levels as they get older.
Storms and Loud Noises
All animals that are startled or experience a disruption in their environment can become stressed. Thunderstorms, flashes of lightning, and more can cause stress levels in your Blue Merle Aussie to increase. When a storm is on the horizon, you may want to consider preparing your space for the event.
To begin with, ensure that their bed is cleaned and stocked with a treat, toy, and any other comfort items they're fond of. If your Blue Merle Aussie has a place to retreat to if frightened that is familiar and safe, it will help reduce anxiety and stress.
Never Yell at Your Blue Merle Aussie
Similar to humans, when we raise our voice or if someone speaks to us in a raised tone, we become anxious or stressed. Loud noises, sudden movements, and the actions of others can become trigger points to your Blue Merle Aussie.
Keep Your Blue Merle Aussie Active
If you are someone that lives in an apartment or are in a situation where you don’t have time to tend to your dog, then the Blue Merle Aussie may not be for you. The Blue Merle Aussie needs to have room to run and be active. If they don’t have this, their stress and anxiety can increase, and they may become destructive.
A great activity to do with your Blue Merle Aussie is to throw a frisbee. With a frisbee, they can chase, jump, and interact with it in a natural way which helps with stress, pent-up energy, and anxiety. It's also important that you let your Blue Merle Aussie use up their energy before returning home.
Watch and Maintain A Healthy Diet
Another factor that needs to be looked at in your Blue Merle Aussie is their diet. In many cases, owners have stated that their dogs are picky eaters. For some Blue Merle Aussie owners, they may fear that their pets are starving themselves. This is not the case. In most cases, your Blue Merle Aussie is simply trying to adjust to the food that you are giving them. If you are someone who likes to spoil their pet and give them treats for a job well done, it may reflect in their general eating behavior.
Don’t worry; you'ss just need to be creative in the way you feed them. Consider breaking up a treat in their dish once or twice a week. When eating their food, they will come across this treat and familiarize themselves with the taste and begin to form a natural eating habit.
Don’t Over Feed Your Pet
Another reason that your Blue Merle Aussie may be stressed is their weight. The Blue Merle Aussie is a very active animal and if they are carrying too much weight, they could start to experience health problems.
Pain in their hips and legs can cause your Blue Merle Aussie to become stressed. Similar to humans, when we are in pain or if we are unable to do some of the most basic tasks that we are accustomed to, we begin to worry. Hip Dysplasia is one of the most common health issues your Blue Merle Aussie will experience. It will cause pain when they walk and run as well as other areas of their bodies. If you see that your Blue Merle Aussie is having issues walking, is limping, or cries from normal activities, have their hip examined.
As your Blue Merle Aussie gets older, next to their ears and hips, their eyes will start to go. Blindness in your pet can be a scary thing for both of you. When your Blue Merle Aussie begins to lose their sight, their stress and anxiety will increase exponentially.
If this occurs, you will want to do everything you can to keep your blind dog safe and comfortable. To begin with, you'll want to constantly talk to them. The sound of your voice and your actions will ensure them that they are not alone and are being looked over.
The next thing is to create a routine and use triggers to train your Blue Merle Aussie. Bells, loud noises, and sudden vibrations may cause a negative reaction. Consider a squeaking dog toy or maybe the rustling of a bag to trigger an action or reaction.
Design your environment for your blind dog. Use auditable triggers, scents, and walk your dog through the house to train them. Soon they will get a lay of the land and feel more comfortable in their environment.
Monitor Their Medications
A major sign of stress and anxiety will come from drug sensitivity and allergies to their medications. Similar to humans, your Blue Merle Aussie will be different from others in their breed. As a result, you will want to watch and monitor their medications.
Some of the side effects from these medications could be increased sleepiness, heightened sensitivity to light and sound, and increased itching. If your Blue Merle Aussie shows any signs of a reaction, contact your vet immediately and discontinue giving them the medication.
If you are not getting a reaction to the medications and they are working, you want to introduce the medications slowly and in the same way. Many animals will not want to take medications. Try to put the medications in a treat. In the beginning, you will need to ensure that it is taken and not discarded.
Monitoring Your Blue Merle Aussie’s Behavior
As an owner of a Blue Merle Aussie, it's important to understand your pet’s behavior. Many of the reasons why your dog may be stressed have been discussed, however, determining if it is natural behavior or stress needs to be determined.
What are the most common signs of stress in your Blue Merle Aussie?
Pacing and Shaking
The first sign will be their overall movements throughout the day. If you see that they are pacing back and forth between rooms or if they are shaking in a corner, this is a major sign of stress. If you see this, examine the environment and see what has changed or been altered. Listen for any loud noises or low hums that may be causing your dog pain.
Whining or Barking
All dogs bark and cry from time to time. This is a natural behavior. Some triggers for this can be loud music from a neighbor or local area, a stranger in the yard doing work, or an unknown shift in their environment.
Try to calm your Blue Merle Aussie by taking them to their bed or area. Give them a treat or sit with them on the floor. Talk calmly to your pet and rub their special spot that calms them down.
If after a few minutes of whining or barking, you may need to take them out of the situation altogether. Consider taking them for a walk, getting some exercise, or engaging them in a fun activity.
Changes in Eyes, Ears, or Other Physical Characteristics
For humans, we can tell something is wrong when we start biting our nails, look around the room, or have a slight change in our overall pigment. The same can be said for your Blue Merle Aussie. If their ears are up or moving, it's a sign of stress or discomfort. If their eyes are glassy or seemed to change color, then this is another sign of stress.
The Blue Merle Aussie naturally sheds. This is a common trait of the breed and needs to be taken into consideration before owning one. In stressful situations, they may begin to shed more rapidly or in larger clumps. If the fur of your Aussie looks thin or patchy then it can be a sign of stress. Monitor the amount of hair that you see and the areas that you see it in. If they are shedding in corners or out-of-the-way places, this can be an indication of stress.
Watch for Accidents or Excessive Bowel Movements
Typically, we will train our Blue Merle Aussies to have a regular bowel movement. In many cases, this will occur first thing in the morning when everyone wakes up, another in the afternoon, and again in the evening before bed.
When monitoring your Blue Merle Aussie’s behavior, take note if accidents occur, their desire to go outside increases, or other behavior comes into play. When accidents do occur, look to see if they are in the same spots regularly. If so, consider monitoring their activity and note the time and events that are occurring at that time.
Don’t Let Small Behaviors Turn into Major Health Problems
There is no one better to understand the behaviors of their Blue Merle Aussie than their owners. It is vital that if you own one, you take their overall health seriously. Knowing the signs of general problems such as stress, anxiety, allergy reactions, and general behaviors is just the starting point. As your Blue Merle Aussie gets older, more serious conditions such as epilepsy could be a concern.
One stressful situation for both you and your Blue Merle Aussie is the uncertainty of an epileptic seizure. In humans, some signs will indicate the onset of a seizure. Many humans that suffer from epilepsy will use dogs as an early warning system when it comes to seizures.
As of yet, however, no scientific way has been documented or engineered to detect these seizures in dogs. As a result, it can cause a stressful situation for everyone involved. Dog owners will have to constantly monitor their pets, change their diets, medications, and more.
Create A Safe Environment for Your Blue Merle Aussie
Now that there is an established understanding of why your Blue Merle Aussie experiences stress and some steps that you can take to ensure that they are happy and healthy, the final piece of the puzzle is to ensure that you create a warm, safe, and personalized environment for them.
As humans, we want to have our own bed, a space for our belongings, and a general routine that we can follow to center ourselves when we feel disconnected from the world. The same can be said for your Aussie, as well.
The first thing that you want to do is ensure that they have a bed. A blanket on the floor or allowing them to sleep on the furniture is not good enough for your pet. They will need to have a bed of their own, placed in a section of the house that is theirs and won’t be disturbed by day-to-day traffic and activities. A good choice for a bed is a Calming Cuddle Bed. This bed should be just large enough for your Blue Merle Aussie to lay down comfortably and move around while they sleep. If the bed is too large or too small, it could cause them to be uncomfortable or injure themselves. You want to also purchase your bed from a company that understands the needs of your Blue Merle Aussie as well. Most people look at the brand name stores, however, a better choice would be Calming Dog.
You'll want to avoid flat or square beds without an edge on them. These types of beds don’t support your Aussie and could result in slipping on the floor or unwanted movements. Since the Calming Bed is designed to stay in place and not slide around, it will be a safe environment for your pet.
Have Comfort Items Around Their Bed
After you have chosen their bed, you'll want to consider having a few comfort items and toys for them to entertain themselves with. As you choose the toys and items for your pet, make sure that they are age and size-appropriate. You don’t want to have items that could cause your pet to choke or injure themselves. It is also a good idea to find a toy or item that they favor and ensure that it remains in the area at all times.
Having Multiple Pets
The environment that we create for our pets needs to radiate throughout the entire house. The Blue Merle Aussie is a very social animal and one way that you can help keep their spirits up is by having an additional pet in your home. Depending on the size of your Aussie you may want to find a similar breed or, perhaps, an Aussie of the opposite sex.
Companionship in life is important for humans as well as animals. Introducing your current pet to another member of the family may be a stressful situation at first, however, with some time and effort, it could be a great way to ensure that stress and anxiety are no longer a factor or issue.
Understanding That Stress and Anxiety Are Normal
It is important that you love and care for your dogs. They are loyal companions that will be with you through the good times as well as the bad. It's only fitting that you do the same for them. It has been documented that almost seventy percent of all dogs experience stress and anxiety. These range from separation anxieties, noise sensitives, surface sensitivities, aggression, and lack of attention. Following the advice presented here will give you a strong foundation that you can use to build the relationship between you and your pet. When it comes to understanding issues and working towards resolving them, a great bond can be formed, reducing stress and anxieties in your pets.