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Canine Anxiety: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

  Aug 21, 2023

Canine Anxiety: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

Canine anxiety, a term used to describe various disorders of anxiety, fear, concern, and stress in dogs, is no fun for you or your pet. Although it is normal behavior, coping with a stressed dog may be difficult. And, if left untreated, dog anxiety can manifest into behavioral issues and other health problems. Keep reading to know more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of anxiety in dogs.

Why do Dogs Get Anxiety?

Your dog may get anxious for many reasons. Studies suggest that some dog breeds are naturally prone to developing anxiety, especially working and herding breeds. Dogs are social animals, and therefore, most dogs suffer from anxiety when separated from their loved ones.  Some of the most common causes of anxiety in dogs are:

Fear: Dogs may develop fears of specific places, people, or situations. This may include vet visits, loud noises, firecrackers, new toys, new objects, car rides, and more.

Separation: Dogs don’t like when they get separated from people and places that they love. In such conditions, they may exhibit undesirable behaviors such as barking and growling.
Changes in the environment: Some dogs may get anxious with minor changes in their environment, such as guest visits, the death of a family member, the loss of a companion pet, etc.

Lack of socialization: If not socialized properly during the early stages of their lives, dogs may become easily anxious upon seeing a new pet or family member. 

Medical issues: Painful medical conditions or diseases don’t only affect the physical as well as mental health of dogs. Hence, dogs with medical issues are more likely to be stressed.

Past trauma: Just like humans, dogs also get affected by their past experiences. Dogs with post-traumatic stress disorder may get stressed when experiencing the traumatic event again.

Aging: A dog’s cognitive functions like memory, learning, and perception may decline as they grow older. Such a condition may lead to confusion and anxiety in dogs.

What are the Signs of Stress in Dogs?

So, how do you know if your dog is anxious? Here are some key symptoms that indicate anxiety:

  • Aggression
  • Excessive barking
  • Hiding or escaping behavior
  • Drooling
  • Restlessness
  • Urinating or defecating in the house
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Changes in the body posture

If your dog shows any behavior than its normal demeanor during any specific situation, it may be suffering from anxiety. Speak to your veterinarian about your dog’s condition to figure out its exact cause.

 How to Calm Your Dog in Stressful Situations? 

Your veterinarian will figure out the stressor and prescribe a treatment plan. However, the best way to treat anxiety is to prevent it in the first place. This can be done by removing stressors from their environment and comforting them to introduce a sense of normalcy.

If your dog’s anxiety is due to an underlying health condition, your veterinarian will help with the treatment of the medical problem. If your dog’s anxiety is due to a lack of socialization or past trauma, your vet will suggest behavioral training to condition your dog to remain calm in such a situation.

However, if your dog gets anxious in common cases, such as car rides or vet visits, you can effectively manage the condition with anxiety-relief dog treatments available in the market. Along with that, you can also try to distract them from the anxiety-causing stimuli using their favorite treats or toys.

Always remember that your dog cannot express its stress verbally or throw tantrums like you do when you are stressed. They can only overcome this condition with your attention, care, love, and pampering. So, don’t forget to spoil them with a lot of those when they remain calm in stressful conditions. 

Canine Anxiety: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

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