Dog Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Do you have trouble communicating with your dog? Sometimes, understanding what they’re feeling can be harder than you think.

If you’ve noticed a destructive behavior emerging in your dog, it could be due to anxiety. 

Anxiety is normal, though. Almost every dog experiences it at some point. However, if left untreated, it can potentially lead to much more dangerous results.

So, let us offer you an insight into the causes, symptoms, and treatment of dog anxiety.

What Causes Dog Anxiety?

Dogs may get anxious due to several reasons. Depending on the symptoms, you might tell at times why your dog is acting strange. Some of the common reasons for dog anxiety are:

General Anxiety

You might just have an anxious dog. While a particular cause triggers some anxieties, generalized anxiety means your dog is chronically anxious. His anxiety isn’t in response to a specific stimulus but because he’s unable to think otherwise. 

If your dog is always frightened or acting out, get him on medication. Moreover, you can try to understand his behavior and choose activities that can help him relieve anxiety.

Fear & Phobias

Specific situations like thunder, loud noise, strangers, or even traveling can trigger dog anxiety.

If your dog gets anxious randomly, check for the triggers. Suppose you’re visiting your friend’s house for the first time along with your dog. Is he clinging to you the whole time and barking excessively?

If your dog doesn’t behave like that when your friend comes over, he could be anxious about the new environment.

Socialization Issues

Don’t force your dog anywhere. Some dogs are scared of other people and even pets. If you force your dog to socialize, it could lead to an anxiety disorder.

It could be because he was kept alone for a long time or due to bad experiences with strangers in the past. To solve his socialization issues, take him out on walks with you. Get him acquainted with the people around you.

However, keep your pace slow. Sudden exposure to strangers could trigger your dog’s anxiety and make it worse rather than better. 

Separation Anxiety

Does your dog bark excessively when you’re about to leave the house? Does he try to get highly clingy when you return? 

The most common type of anxiety among pet dogs is separation anxiety. It happens when your dog doesn’t want to be left alone because he gets scared. 

Separation anxiety in dogs is similar to a panic attack.

How to Help a Dog With Separation Anxiety?

Each breed is different and may exhibit different separation anxiety symptoms. Separation anxiety can also be a combination of all the other causes of dog anxiety. It’s maybe due to the fear of being alone or past trauma, which could trigger the fear of abandonment. 

Your dog might get anxious if you’re relocating to a new place or if your lifestyle has suddenly changed. The best way you can help your dog is by understanding him. 

Train your dog to live alone. You can pretend to leave and gauge his reaction. Try assuring him that he won’t be left for long.  Give him treats if he doesn’t cling to you as much. 

Increase his physical activity, so he remains busy and gets tired enough not to pay attention to other things.

If nothing seems to be working and at the end of the day you’re still returning home to broken furniture or your dog’s urine at unusual spots, consult his vet.

What Are the Symptoms of Dog Anxiety?

If you’re curious whether your dog is just having a bad day or suffering from anxiety, look for the signs below.

  • Aggressiveness, excessive barking
  • Restlessness
  • Nibbling and chewing on furniture pieces
  • Urinating or defecating inside the house
  • Pacing around the house
  • Increased drooling or salivating
  • Desperate attempts to escape
  • Destructive and repetitive behaviors
  • Not making an eye contact 
  • Hiding 
  • Shivering or trembling

Some of these dog anxiety symptoms may indicate a specific type of anxiety. Understand your dog’s behavior and treat him accordingly.

How to Calm an Anxious Dog?

Here are some ways to calm an anxious dog.

Increase His Physical Activity

Exercise is beneficial for everyone, humans and pets alike. If your dog is a lazy bum, the chances are high that he could get extra clingy or restless at times due to boredom.

Tire your dog out by increasing his physical activity. Exercise not only allows you to bond with your dog but also tires your dog enough to help calm him down.

Behavior Management

Dogs are like children – attention seekers, moody, and clingy at times. So, they need to be trained and taught like children as well. Training your dog is essential in countering dog anxiety.

Train your dog to stay alone by offering him a safe space. You should buy toys and plan activities that can keep him busy. Counter Condition his anxiety by turning his negative feelings into positive.

Consult a Vet

Sometimes no matter how much you try, your dog still might exhibit anxious behavior. But, don’t worry! There are medicines available to calm an anxious dog. 

Consult your vet to identify the cause for your pet’s anxiety and get him recommended medications.

A Word From Us

Your dog wants you. It’s important to spend quality time with your dog to make him feel loved and special. Engage in activities that you both can enjoy together. 

Don’t forget that it’s possible to treat anxieties. No matter what you do, please don’t give up hope in your dog!

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