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Dogs can suffer from many of the same mental health problems that we do. Anxiety is a common problem, and it's important to learn how to recognize the signs of anxiety in dogs so you can take quick action. This blog post will help you understand why your dog might be anxious and discuss ways you can help your pet feel better!
Why is My Dog Anxious?
Dogs can become anxious for many reasons, and some you may not even expect. While some dogs are anxious due to separation from their owners, others may have anxiety because of too much activity. This is especially true of young puppies that get over-excited and may need some time to calm down.
Another reason for canine anxiety might be due to a change in location, which can include anything from an upcoming trip or vacation with the family to simply going on a walk through your neighborhood.
Some dogs are so anxious before their walks will start to pace, whine or even have accidents.
If your dog is anxious, it's vital to first recognize why and then take the necessary steps to help them feel better.
Similarities between Dogs and Humans
Anxiety in dogs is similar to anxiety in humans, only they may express it differently due to not being able to speak out loud or voice their feelings.
For instance, your dog may not be able to tell you that they're anxious but they can display it in different ways. They might start licking their paws or shaking; some dogs will pant and others will whine.
Another way that anxiety is similar between humans and their canine companions is with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. These skin conditions can make dogs itch, which will only cause them to scratch more if they are anxious about it.
Possible causes of Dog Anxiety
Your dog might be suffering from separation anxiety. This is one of the most common reasons why dogs show signs of stress and fear in humans.
Separation anxiety can develop after a traumatic event (e.g., being abandoned) or when your pet has no other choice but to spend time away from you (for example, when you have to leave him or her at a kennel).
It could be the environment that triggers your dog's fear, stress, and/or anxiety. These can include loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms; changes in the family routine; physical abuse from a child in the home; other traumatic events that your pet experienced before you got him or her (e.g. being in a shelter); or even changes to the home, such as an addition of another pet or person.
Your dog is not getting enough exercise and mental stimulation; boredom often leads to anxiety and other problems.
A medical condition could be causing your dog to feel pain. If your pet is in pain then he or she will likely be anxious and will try to find ways (such as engaging in destructive behavior) to cope with the discomfort.
Whatever the reason, it's a good idea to recognize the signs of anxiety in your dog so that you can help.
3 Signs of Dog Anxiety That Are Easy to Spot
Being able to identify the signs of anxiety in dogs is essential to helping them to feel better and avoid any issues.
Here are 3 common signs that your dog may be suffering from some degree of anxiety!
Attention Seeking Behavior
Your dog might be anxious if he or she engages in attention-seeking behavior. Some of the most common signs include:
- Barks, whines, and cries excessively
- Paws at you or other family members
- Jumps on you or other family members
- Scratches the floor, door, walls to get to you
While it's often easy to tell when your dog is acting overly clingy or needy, that doesn't mean you should encourage this behavior. In fact, the opposite approach will help a great deal!
For instance, if you notice these behaviors during playtime then simply stop playing with them and ignore their obsessive attempts at getting attention from you.
If you notice this behavior before or after a walk then simply turn your back on them and don't give in to their demands. Eventually, they'll learn that the only way to get attention from you is by being calm!
Pacing and restlessness
If your usually calm dog is suddenly pacing the room or house, then he or she might be suffering from some level of anxiety.
Some common signs include:
- Pacing back and forth
- Constant moving around
- Not being able to settle in one place for long periods
If you keep noticing these behaviors in your pet then take note of the time and circumstances surrounding it.
For example, does this happen when they are excited about going outside to play? Or before a thunderstorm is expected to hit? If so, then your dog might be suffering from some level of anxiety or stress due to their environment.
Cowering and Hiding
Is your dog uncharacteristically timid or shy?
Common signs are:
- Moving away from people when they try to touch him or her
- Hiding under furniture, beds, etc.
- Trying to stay as far away from other family members as possible
- Making himself/herself very small in size by crouching and/or lying down
If you notice any of these signs, then it's important to get to the root of your dog's anxiety.
Talk with a veterinarian or behaviorist who can help you figure out what might be causing it and how best to deal with it so that your pup isn't suffering any longer than necessary!
How Can I Make My Dog Less Anxious?
There is no one size fits all method when it comes to helping your dog deal with their anxiety since some dogs have different reasons for feeling stressed out.
However, there are some tips that you can try to ease their condition:
- Make sure that you give your dog enough exercise before you leave them alone for an extended period.
- Anxiety can stem from boredom or loneliness due to your pup not being stimulated enough. Try giving them toys that they can play with when left alone for long periods of time. Puzzle toys will mentally challenge your dog, and help to tire them out.
If your pup continues to have anxiety issues despite trying these solutions, it may be time for you to speak with a professional about the best course of action since many other factors could cause your pet stress and discomfort in their life.
Anxiety in dogs is a common issue that can lead to negative consequences if it's not addressed promptly. Some common signs of anxiety in dogs include: attention-seeking behavior, pacing, and restlessness, cowering, and hiding.
There are also ways that you can help your pup cope with their stress including giving them enough exercise before leaving for an extended period as well as making sure they're not bored or lonely when left alone.
Be proactive in identifying the signs of anxiety in your dog so you can take action swiftly, and avoid the situation getting any worse.