Many pet’s experience anxiety just like humans do. Anxiety in dogs can lead to bad behaviour such as chewing, barking or acting out in other ways. An anxious dog may also not seem like their regular playful self. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to alleviate your dog’s anxiety, but first, you have to be able to recognize the condition and its potential source in your pet!
Signs of Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs display anxiety in many different ways. To know if your dog is affected by anxiety, look out for the following signs and any pattern of when they become present in your pet.
Loss of appetite
An anxious dog may become uninterested in food, and may turn down everything from their regular food to favourite treats.
Changes in poop
Anxiety can lead to both constipation and diarrhea in your pet. If you notice either change in your dog’s daily bowel movements, particularly if combined with other symptoms mentioned here, your dog is likely feeling stressed and worried.
The tucked tail is a classic sign of anxiety, fear or worry, especially in dogs with a more submissive personality type.
Trembling may accompany the tucked tail or occur on its own. It is also a common sign of anxiety or fear.
If your dog is feeling acute anxiety, he may panic and try to escape the space that he is in. Look for signs of agitation, pacing, and clawing at doors or windows.
Dogs with a more dominant personality type may become aggressive in response to fear or anxiety. If your dog growls or snaps at you, other dogs, or other people in your environment, it may be a sign that they are feeling anxious or uncomfortable.
Particularly if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, he or she may track your every movement in the home. This is likely to occur when they sense that you may leave the house soon. Anxious dogs may also track you as the ‘pack leader’ in new environments in order to determine how they should act in an uncertain setting.
Chewing is another common and simple expression of anxiety. Chewing on bones and sticks actually calms your dog, so if he begins to chew a lot, and on items that he is not meant to chew, it may be a sign that he is anxious and trying to soothe himself.
Inability to settle
An anxious dog will not be able to lie down and be quiet. He will likely pace and continue to investigate new thing in his environment, even if you feel he should be tired. Similar symptoms may be excessive licking, scratching and fidgeting.
Causes Of Anxiety
All of the above symptoms may indicate anxiety or may correlate to other things. However, if your dog exhibits one or more of the above signs on a frequent basis, she likely struggles with anxiety. There are many reasons for anxiety in dogs.
One of the most common form of anxiety in dogs is separation anxiety, which can occur in insecure dogs or pets with a history of abandonment or multiple homes. If your pet exhibits anxious behaviour whenever you are about to leave, or during your absence, it is likely a case of separation anxiety.
Anxiety can also occur as a result of changes in the environment. Many dogs suffer from anxiety during thunderstorms, for example, due to the noise and changes in air pressure. Dogs that have not been exposed to different environments may also become anxious when brought to other houses or spaces.
If you suspect your dog has an anxiety issue, speak about it with your vet who will be able to help you determine the potential cause and best avenues for treatment. Working with an experienced dog trainer can also work wonders in reducing anxious and unwanted behaviours.
Because your pet is unable to speak to you about any discomfort they may be experiencing, it is important to observe their behaviour regularly for issues such as anxiety. Anxiety can lead to unwanted and sometimes dangerous behaviours, at worst, and is uncomfortable for your pet. Early assessment and intervention will help to modify your pet’s behaviour and to help him feel more comfortable wherever he is!
This article was written by Jeffery Roberts
Jeffery is a pet enthusiast and volunteer at his local pet shelter. His passion for animals started at an early age and through his work on becoming a veterinary student he understands and cares for pets of all species. Jeffery currently writes for The Happy Pooch and has 2 cats, a bird and a dog named Lucy.