Just like humans and other animals can experience anxiety, dogs can also feel this negative emotion. There are many different reasons for a dog developing anxiety, and they can vary from dog to dog. Spotting the signs of anxiousness in your dog, and knowing what causes them to feel that way, is extremely important in helping to address the issue.
As a good fur-parent, it’s crucial to find out why your pet is feeling this way and take measures to avoid the triggers that can set off your dog’s anxiety. Is your dog behaving a little more strangely than usual? Read on and find out if your dog has anxiety – and learn what you can do to help your pet live a more stress-free life!
Common Causes of Anxiety in Dogs
Typically, a change in activity, environment, or routine can give dogs anxiety. The change can catch them off guard, and their physical reactions mirror their feelings. For example, changes in feeding schedules, separation, new people in their lives, and trauma from abandonment (especially if your dog is adopted!) can cause dogs anxiety. Illnesses can also cause dogs to display symptoms of anxiety.
When dogs are anxious, they can do all sorts of things that can seem like “bad” behavior. They can get aggressive, for instance. Or they might start chewing on slippers and furniture. They can refuse to eat or drink, or they may start to relieve themselves in places where they’re not allowed to, like on the kitchen rug or on the carpet.
The Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs
Body language is the key in deciding whether your dog has anxiety or not. These body language behaviors include one or more of the following:
- Barking or whining for no apparent reason
- Refusing to eat food (r not eating food right on schedule)
- Shaking and trembling, along with drooling
- Panting even with zero physical activity (e.g., just lying down)
- Using the bathroom in places they don’t usually do
- Aggression (even with their owners)
- Constant hiding behind furniture (such as closets or crates)
- Compulsive and repetitive behaviors that don’t make sense
- Attempting to escape enclosures or repetitive digging
How You Can Help Your Dog With Anxiety
Like people, dogs suffering from anxiety are having a hard time. The good news, though, is that you can help your dog relieve his anxiety – if not also outright recover completely from it. That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for dogs suffering from anxiety. Your veterinarian will decide upon the course of treatment for your dog, which may involve two or more strategies.
If anxiety is indeed the cause of your dog’s strange behaviors, then here are a few things you can do to help calm your four-legged canine companion down:
- Take him out for a walk.
- Give your dog some pats and cuddles.
- Give them their favorite treats and toys.
- Introduce a supplement to relieve anxiety.
The Benefits of Walkies
Physical activity, such as going on a daily walk outside, lessens the symptoms of depression for humans and dogs alike. Hit two birds with one stone and get the physical activity you and your pet need by taking him outdoors for a walk. You can level it up and bring toys, like balls or sticks, for your dog to fetch. Playing with your dog releases pent energy often associated with anxiety. Include this in your lifestyle change and see your dog improve.
Showing Physical Affection
Dogs love physical touch as much as we do, so petting them will do wonders to uplift their mood. Scratch their bellies, behind the ears, smooth down their fur or cuddle with them. You’ll find out that not only your dog behaves better, but you also will, too.
Giving Them Rewards and Presents
Dogs thrive on familiarity. Giving them their favorite toy or treats will ease their anxiety, primarily if they are associated with good experiences. Introduce treats little by little and see how they respond.
Your veterinarian might prescribe stress-relieving supplements, though it largely depends on the anxiety levels of your dog. Pet CBD (CBD for pets) might be one of these options, as well as other over-the-counter treatments that can similarly relieve anxiety in people (such as L-Theanine, melatonin, and SAMe). Always discuss this with your vet, though, before starting any supplementation.
Taking Care of Your Dog
Dogs need extra support and care when they suffer from anxiety. Knowing what triggers their anxiety and how to lessen those triggers will relieve the stress they are experiencing. Like us humans, dogs need their anxiety to be addressed to not progress into something worse, like depression.
Your role as an owner is to support your dog during these times, and your careful attention can make all the difference in making their anxiety – as well as all of its associated symptoms – go away once and for all. Your dog will become a happy little buddy once more with proper treatment, giving you back the familiar Fido that you’ve grown to know and love!