While 40 million adults suffer from anxiety, you might be surprised to learn that your dog might also be susceptible.
You might not always recognize the signs of anxiety in dogs since dogs cannot communicate the same way as humans. They do, however, show us signs that something is off.
If your dog is exhibiting odd behavior and you’re not sure what’s up, keep reading for signs your dog has anxiety.
Why Do Dogs Get Anxious?
Just like humans, dogs have emotions. There are a few reasons why they might become anxious.
Separation anxiety is very common if dogs do not like to be alone. Shelter or rescue dogs may also show anxious behavior around other humans or dogs depending on their past interactions with people. Loud noises also scare dogs, as well as strangers.
Generally speaking, there’s really no way to predict what your dog will be afraid of, but merely observe and help your dog be comfortable and calm when stressors arise.
Signs Your Dog Has Anxiety
It’s not always easy to tell if your dog is anxious since many of these behaviors seem somewhat normal. But if they’re showing more than one and very frequently, it could point to something. Here are some symptoms of anxiety in dogs.
Your dog likely has a normal stance, all four legs on the floor and body level with the ground. However, in a stressed-out dog, their posture changes.
Some dogs will tuck their tail between their legs or cower at whatever is causing them anxiety. Others may appear stiff or immovable.
Most dogs bark at everyday occurrences: the mailman, a doorbell ringing, a family member returning home. But incessant barking is when you need to be concerned.
Barking and whining combined are also common in anxious dogs, so if your dogs start barking more than usual, something might be bothering them.
When your dog paces back and forth across the room, it’s a good sign they’re feeling anxious. Their pacing may appear as simply walking from one part of the house to another, but it’s in response to feeling restless or stressed. Pacing and panting together are pretty clear indicators of dog anxiety.
When your dog was a puppy, destructive behaviors were common. It’s normal to find a puppy wrestling with a sock or shoe as they become accustomed to domestic behavior. However, an older destructive dog is less common and more troubling.
Dogs that deal with separation anxiety are especially prone to destruction if they’re allowed to roam their owner’s home while they’re away.
Again, licking is completely normal behavior for dogs as they maintain cleanliness, but in dogs with anxiety, it’s comparable to self-harm.
An overabundance of licking causes harm to their skin and coat. They may even lick other objects or you to stimulate feelings of calm to combat their anxiety, or they could even be bored.
When a dog shakes the wetness out of their coat, it’s out of necessity to get dry. Dogs may sometimes shake, too, to communicate that they are scared.
The shake may appear more as a tremble, shivering, or even whimpering. Dog shaking can also be a symptom of more serious problems such as nausea, kidney problems, poisoning, or even an injury.
While you wouldn’t like to think that your precious pup could ever become aggressive, if your dog has anxiety, this is a very common symptom, and yet the most dangerous.
When dogs enter an aggressive state, they could hurt you, others, and even themselves. The signs of aggression are barred teeth, raised hair, deep bark, rigid body, and more.
8. Indoor Urination or Defecation
Most dogs do well potty training, and may only show signs of going to the bathroom indoors later in life as they age. But if your dog is potty trained, and nowhere near senior hood, it’s likely they have anxiety.
They could lose control of their bodily functions when stressors hit, leaving you with a mess to clean up. It’s best not to discipline your dog at this time because in most cases, it’s involuntary.
Dog Anxiety Treatment
Watching your dog suffer from anxiety is incredibly difficult and any good dog owner would want some way to help their dog feel comfortable and calm when they are exhibiting symptoms of anxiety.
Here are some possible ways you can help your dog find relief.
A great product that shows promise is CBD oil for dogs.
Dogs are pack animals and need to be around other dogs, especially if you have a single dog. Make sure your dog gets lots of socialization time with other dogs, like a dog park.
If you know your dog’s anxiety triggers, avoid them at all costs, especially if they become aggressive.
Neglect can also lead to anxiety in dogs. As a dog owner, you’re primarily responsible for caring or all your dog’s needs, like exercise and proper nutrition. Ensure that you’re caring for your dog in the best way possible to avoid any anxieties.
If you’re at a loss about what to do about your dog’s anxiety, contact your vet. They’ve likely seen plenty of cases of dog anxiety and can make recommendations based on your dog’s specific needs.
Dog Anxiety: You Can Help
Hopefully, these signs your dog has anxiety will point you in the right direction for treatment and care. When your dog feels calm and safe, you can enjoy many years to come together.
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