January 25, 2023 6 min read
Just like people, dogs get anxious. It is an unpleasant emotion, but it's also normal and healthy. All breeds of dogs can have dog anxiety, although each dog may experience it differently. Although all dogs occasionally experience worry, if excessive levels of anxiety go untreated, a dog may develop an anxiety disorder. Dog anxiety, if untreated, can result in behavioural problems as well as other problems.
The fact that dogs find it difficult to tell us when anything is wrong is one of the challenging aspects of our relationships with them. Therefore, in order to assist our friends in coping with problems like anxiety, we need to be aware of the symptoms. If you suspect your dog is experiencing anxiety, there are therapies that might help both them and you feel less worried.
There are various sorts of anxiety your dog may be experiencing, despite the fact that some dog anxiety expressions may overlap and appear similar:
Anxious behaviour triggered by a dog being left alone for periods of time without their owner or playmate. This can lead to destruction of items in your home while they’re left alone, excessive barking, or even attempts to escape their confinement.
Hostility caused by anxiety that manifests on the outside. This form of anxiety may result from a past experience the dog has had or from a lack of socialisation during the early puppy years.
Older dogs are more susceptible to age-related anxiety, which is linked to the cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Memory, learning, perception, and consciousness begin to deteriorate in CDS-affected dogs, much like they do in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease in people. Senior dogs are understandably confused and anxious as a result.
It may sounds odd, but dogs can experience anxiety in the form of obsessive behavioural problems, just like people can. This type of dog anxiety is characterised by excessive, recurrent behaviour that interferes with daily activities. Obsessive licking of body regions or parts, frequent tail biting, nonstop chewing of a specific toy, frequent tail chasing, and other behaviours are examples of such a disorder.
Dog anxiety can have a variety of other causes too, including:
So what do you need to keep an eye on to find out if your dog is anxious? There are a whole bunch of important symptoms to look out for, including;
You may find that your dog's barking can be a form of communicating their discomfort, especially if the barking coexists with any other worried behaviours, including a stiff body. Barking is typically how most of us imagine our dogs are communicating. The combination of a rigid body and loud barking may be an indication that your dog is about to retaliate, which might be an obvious symptom of a more serious anxiety-based problem.
You might see a dog with anxiety licking its lips quickly or flicking its tongue in response to a trigger, which might be a sign that the dog is in distress.
All dogs pant when they are worked up and exhausted from exercise, but if your dog is panting while standing still or simply loitering next to you, that could be an indication of anxiety. Dogs may whine in order to get food or your attention, but they may also do so out of anxiety about a particular circumstance, so it's important to understand the situational factors involved.
Your dog may be experiencing anxiety, especially separation anxiety, if you've noticed them fast chewing, destroying your favourite household things, or digging up your garden. This behaviour might also be an indication of boredom if it happens when you're away from home. Find out whether they are wailing or barking before or after damaging items when you aren't home, as these behaviours might be signs of anxiousness.
When your dog stops eating in specific circumstances, such as when they are left alone at home or in a boarding kennel, it may be because they are worried or anxious.
Plus a plethora of other minor signs to keep an eye out for, including;
Having a chat with your vet is the best course of action for treating anxiety. Your vet can assist you in determining the sort of anxiety your dog experiences as well as its potential causes and triggers. Your veterinarian can also assist you in determining whether your dog's nervousness is only situational or if it is developing into a major problem. Veterinarians can also rule out any further illnesses that might be the source of your dog's symptoms.
You can develop a treatment strategy with the aid of your veterinarian. The best method to treat excessive anxiety is typically by a mix of training, preventive measures, and in some cases, drugs because it is frequently brought on by a variety of causes.
There are, however, a few things you can try at home;
Finding the symptoms and conditions that make your dog anxious and removing them from those places is the greatest approach to treat them. Never penalise your dog for their reactions; instead, reassure them. Consult a trained behaviourist or veterinarian for advice, and until your dog's anxiety is under control, keep your dog away from their triggers.
A dog's key socialisation stage lasts from four to sixteen weeks after birth. During this time, a dog's brain actively learns how to accept and engage with the other dogs, humans, and other animals in the social group as well as the surroundings. Regular handling and being introduced to various settings in a non-threatening way are crucial during this period for a puppy to grow into a sociable, self-assured, and content adult.
According to research, puppies that are not exposed to other dogs and people during this crucial time are more likely to grow up to be scared and aggressive, with behavioural issues. As a result, it's crucial to socialise your puppy before 16 weeks of age.
If you can (and your lifestyle allows it), establish a solid daily routine to provide your dog a sense of security and familiarity. This include scheduling your meals, leisure activities, and sleeping hours. Your dog will be able to anticipate what to expect every day if you have a consistent pattern, which will make them happy and at ease.
Adding a couple of drops of Hemp Seed Oil to your pups food or water can work wonders. Used daily or when you know your dog will be around something that triggers them, Hemp Seed Oil is also great for maintaining healthy skin, joints, and general wellbeing as it is rich in omega fatty acids, nutrients and minerals, making it an excellent, nourishing oil and a great alternative to fish oil and other non-vegan supplements. Anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggests that hemp seed oil can reduce anxiety in dogs.
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Even when you're not home, some anxious dogs benefit from some music being played. Your dog's fears can be eased by some background music that serves as a good distraction from the day's silence.
Dogs like playing with their toys, but they can also provide comfort and enrichment. It doesn't matter if it's an interactive toy to kill boredom or a soft toy with a relaxing pulse. There are a tonne of clever and creative toys on the market that could assist your dog manage their anxiety or boredom; the key is to identify the cause of the anxiety to avoid reinforcing the problem.
Always consult your veterinarian for assistance if you believe your dog may be experiencing anxiety. Particularly if the symptoms arise suddenly over a short period of time, they may be related to health issues or pain that makes people more irritable. Explore our selection of dog stress and anxiety remedies online and in-store for items that will help restore your best buddy to their happy, tail-wagging best and help them overcome their worry. Depending on your particular situation, your veterinarian may suggest additional natural and pharmaceutical treatments.