More than 70% of dogs display some kind of anxiety. There’s been research done on seven different anxiety-related traits:
- Noise Sensitivity
- General fear
- Fear of Surfaces
- Impulsivity or lack of attention
- Compulsive behaviors
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental state which is a result of a neurochemical reaction in the brain. Just like humans, some dogs also suffer from anxiety from time to time. As pet owners, we want to be aware if our dog is showing unusual levels of anxiety, because if unchecked, a dog can develop an anxiety disorder which can lead to behavioral and other issues. Different dog breeds display various kinds of anxiety-related behaviors.
How to Recognize Anxiety
Don’t we wish we could understand dogs like they can understand us? Since they can’t talk to us, we need to be aware of certain behaviors that may signal something isn’t right.
Here are a few behaviors we should be keeping an eye out for:
- Aggression - by far, the most dangerous symptom of dog anxiety is aggression. This aggression can be targeted directly or indirectly, depending on the situation.
- Urinating or defecating in the house - a common symptom of separation anxiety. Anxious dogs often work themselves up to the point that they pee or poop in the house, even if they are housebroken.
- Destructive behavior - also typical with separation anxiety. The damage is usually located around entry and exit points, like doorways and windows, but can also lead to furniture.
- Drooling, panting, pacing, restlessness - very common when they are scared or fear something. Especially loud noises such as fireworks or thunder.
Cure and Prevention
Is there a 100% cure? No. You can reach out to your veterinarian and tell them precisely what is happening with your dog and their unusual behavior. Your vet will hopefully be able to advise you on the option and strategies of how you can relieve and ease your fur baby’s anxiety.
Things you can do at home before going to the vet:
★ Be Sympathetic - It’s not their fault that they are scared or have anxiety. It is important to remember that our dogs have feelings too.
★ Hold/Love Them - They may just need a loving hug or touch from their human to let them know that everything is ok. Talk to them in a soothing voice, look them in the eye. Let them know that you care and understand the fear/anxiety they are feeling.
★ Play Music - If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, try playing some music while you are gone all day or just running to the store. The music will help them feel like someone/something is there to keep them company and helps to block out noises that cause your dog to be anxious.
★ Avoid triggers - We realize that we can’t avoid the weather, but we can help avoid fireworks. Put your dog in a quiet room on the other side of the house, or take them to a friend’s or family’s home for the evening.
★ Supplements - Yes, there are supplements out there to help your dog with anxiety, but we highly recommend taking your fur-baby to the vet to make sure you are giving them the right product and the right amount that goes with their anxiety issues.
Like humans, many dogs will experience anxiety at some point throughout their lives, although it seems to come more with age. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment is an important facet that can help you, as an owner, know the best ways to help your dog in anxiety-inducing situations. If you think that your dog might have an issue with anxiety, it’s best to consult your veterinarian since they can help diagnose your dog, rule out any other health issues, and help you develop a treatment plan.