How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

So often, we hear that a dog just bit someone “out of nowhere.” The truth is, dogs rarely bite with no warning.

Dogs primarily communicate using body language, so it’s important for humans to understand what they are trying to tell us. Learning our dogs’ special ways of communication can reduce their anxiety and prevent potentially dangerous situations from happening. There are several warning signs to look for to help tell if your dog is stressed.

1. Growling

Growling is an obvious way to tell if your dog is uncomfortable. It could mean that someone is in their space, they feel threatened, or that something hurts. It’s not usually meant to be aggressive but it is rather often a warning that your dog feels uncomfortable.

Many people try to discourage their dog from growling. But if a dog gets in trouble for it, they may become more likely to skip future warnings and go straight to a bite. Don’t punish your pup for growling. Instead, respect their space or figure out a different way to get what you want from them. For example, if a dog is growling over food, give them space when they eat in peace. If they are growling over a bone and you need to put the bone away, trade them for a smaller treat so you can take the bone away safely.

2. Whining or Barking

Many dogs cannot control their whining when they feel stressed, as it’s more of an automatic response. However, it is a clue for humans that something in the environment is causing anxiety. Barking is similar, in that pups can’t always control it, but they’re trying to tell you that they’re stressed about something. It may, however, depend on the context, as dogs may whine and bark for many other reasons.

3. Body Language

There are entire books written on dog body language and “calming signals,” a term developed by Norwegian dog trainer Turid Rugaas. Rugaas realized that dogs have more than 30 ways to avoid stressful situations and try to calm themselves. When pups exhibit these behaviors, they’re trying to diffuse the situation or tell you or another dog that they aren’t a threat.

Stress signs to look for include whale eye (when dogs reveal the whites of their eyes), tucked ears, tucked tail, raised hackles, lip-licking, yawning, and panting. Your dog might also avoid eye contact or look away. This is most commonly seen in a dog that seems “guilty.” However, the pup is actually reacting to your voice and body language and thinks something must be wrong.

Don’t rely solely on body language. Also, some dogs raise their hackles when they are overstimulated or excited, not necessarily when they are stressed or anxious.

4. Freezing

When your dog freezes or gets stiff, they are often stressed about something they see. In a training context, this can sometimes be seen as “submission,” but modern dog training practices tell us that the dog is actually shutting down. This can be very dangerous for both you and your pup. It’s a warning sign that the dog is so stressed that they can’t handle the situation, and the next step may be a bite.

5. Pacing

When canines are pacing back and forth, it’s a sign they can’t settle down because something is stressing them. If this happens during mealtimes or for short periods, it might not be a big deal. But, noticing when your dog engages in this behavior can give you clues as to what is triggering their anxiety.

In older dogs, pacing may be a sign of dementia. If you start to notice this in your senior pet, talk to your veterinarian right away.

Note: With all of these signs, it all still depends on the individual dog and the context of the situation. For example, some dogs growl or “talk” while playing. It could mean they are getting overexcited and need a break, but it could also just be the way they play. Getting to know when your dog is stressed is key. You should always talk to a professional dog trainer if you have any concerns. Or, consider a trip to your veterinarian if your dog’s behavior changes suddenly.

How To Calm A Stressed Dog Down

Dog owners should also reflect on their own behavior to see how they might be contributing to the stress. Some ways owners might make their dogs stressed include not giving clear commands, staring directly at them, or punishing them unnecessarily.

The best way to calm your dog down is to identify what is stressing them, then eliminate the trigger. Alternatively, work with a professional trainer or your veterinarian to reduce their response to the trigger.

Sometimes it’s as easy as blocking off an area where your dog can eat while no one bothers them. Or, teaching children how to respect your dog appropriately. If you know your dog gets stressed out about specific events, like a car ride or fireworks on the Fourth of July, there are some specific ways to ease that anxiety.

The bottom line? Start paying attention to your dog’s body language and you’ll be able to read their stress signals and reduce their anxiety in no time.

December 12, 2020

A variety of situations can trigger anxiety in your dog. Learn how to spot the signs of anxiety in dogs and what you can do to help them overcome their stress.

How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

Vet advice courtesy of Dr Cathy Lau BSc (Hons) BVSc BVMS from Greencross Vets Baldivis.

The more time we spend with our dogs, the more we feel like we have an intuitive knack of knowing how they’re feeling at any given time. They’re great at expressing when they’re happy, hungry, tired, or just want a good belly scratch, but unfortunately anxiety is a lot trickier to notice in dogs and you’d be forgiven for incorrectly interpreting these symptoms as your dog being naughty. The more you know about what triggers anxiety in your dog, the better you can notice the signs and treat them.

What causes anxiety in dogs?

Particular sounds, situations and environments can all lead to anxiety and stress in your dog. These situations include:

  • Being apart from their owner, also known as separation anxiety
  • Travelling in the car
  • Moving house
  • New baby in the home
  • Building or renovation work
  • Vet visits and returning from hospitalisation
  • Hectic/noisy events (Christmas, fireworks, thunderstorms, parties)
  • Change in routine (pet sitters, new job, visitors)

For some dogs, the cause is less obvious and possibly related to temperament, genetics and past negative experiences.

What are the symptoms of anxiety in dogs?

Correctly interpreting your dog’s body language is very important. The below are the initial reactions that your dog will show when they come across a fearful experience:

  • Lip licking
  • Yawning
  • Ears pinning back
  • Corners of the mouth pulling back, which may appear like they’re ‘smiling’
  • Hypervigilant, constantly scanning the environment
  • Tucked tail
  • Hair on their back going up

It’s also important to understand the signs that your dog is experiencing anxiety to help them get back to their happy selves. Some of the main symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Trembling
  • Whining
  • Hiding behind your legs or furniture
  • Turning or looking away
  • Sneezing
  • Panting and drooling
  • Sudden urination or defecation
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Defensive aggression – growling, biting, barking
  • Restlessness and pacing – sometimes it looks like they are “excited”

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How to help a dog with anxiety

Avoid their triggers

The best way to help your dog with anxiety is to identify the signs and triggers for their anxiety and to remove them from these situations. Reassure your dog and never punish them for their reactions. Seek advice from veterinary behaviourists and certified behaviour trainers who use positive training methods, and avoid your dog’s triggers until their anxiety has been managed.

Socialise them early

The critical socialisation period of a dog is when they are 4-16 weeks old. This is the period where a dog’s brain actively learns how to accept and interact with other members in the social group (dogs, people and other animals) and to the environment. For a puppy to develop into a friendly, confident and happy adult, regular handling and being exposed to novel situations in a non-threatening manner during this period is very important.

Research has shown that puppies who are not exposed to other dogs and people during this critical period are more likely to develop fearful and aggressive behaviour, and behavioural problems later in their lives. Therefore it’s very important to socialise your puppy before they’re 16 weeks old.

Use Adaptil

One of the most useful ways to reassure or appease your anxious dog is to use Adaptil. Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural pheromone that a puppy’s mother releases during nursing. This pheromone is only detectable to dogs, so you and your other non-dog pets won’t notice any difference but your best friend will feel safe and secure and experience less fear and stress.

When you’re on the go, this product is available as a collar or spray. This spray can be applied to a bandana that your dog wears and will last for 2 hours. When you’re at home, set up a diffuser to create a relaxing environment for your dog. The collar and diffusers will need to be changed every month.

By: Dr. Jennifer Coates Updated: August 11, 2021

How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

BeWell > Wellness > Is Your Pup Stressed? Watch for These 5 Signs of Anxiety in Dogs

Is Your Pup Stressed? Watch for These 5 Signs of Anxiety in Dogs

D o you suspect your dog is stressed? Anxiety is extremely common in dogs, but the good news is there are plenty of ways to help your pup chill out. The first step is understanding the signs of anxiety in dogs, and we’re here to help with this guide to five common signs of dog anxiety.

Word to the wise: If you notice your furry friend showing one (or more) of these signs, don’t automatically assume they have anxiety. Before you stock up on calming treats and Thundershirts, make sure you call your vet. That’s because many of the signs of anxiety in dogs are seen with other health conditions, and different types of dog anxiety have similar symptoms. Say a dog is panting and pacing. Yes, they could be anxious, but they could also be in a pain or suffering from heart or lung problems. Similarly, a shivering dog could be anxious, or cold, or have a neuromuscular condition. A chat with your vet can confirm that your dog really is experiencing anxiety, and ensure that you use the right methods to treat it.

And if your vet does confirm your dog has anxiety, remember that your goal isn’t just to stop their problem behaviors, but to treat the underlying mental health disorder itself. That’s because long-term anxiety can have negative health effects for your pet, and even decrease their lifespan. So if you have an anxious dog, now is the time to take action.

Let’s look at some of the most common signs of anxiety in dogs in greater detail. Keep in mind that most dogs develop more than one of these common symptoms.

How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

As you prepare to travel this holiday season, it’s important to look for signs of anxiety in dogs. Just like humans, dogs can feel anxious – especially when facing new things. The problem is that sometimes the signs of anxiety in dogs look like other issues, such as an upset stomach or poor behavior. Once you learn how to identify the symptoms, you’ll do a much better job of helping your dog stay calm even while traveling.

The Different Causes of Anxiety in Dogs

The first thing dog owners need to know is that there are different causes of anxiety in dogs.

  • Separation Anxiety – According to the American Kennel Club, 14% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety, which may explain why it is the one you are most familiar with. Essentially, these dogs become anxious when they are separated from their family members, such as when you go to work. Unfortunately, the signs of anxiety in dogs resulting from separation are not pleasant. Their behaviors typically include making messes in the home when left alone (peeing or pooping in the home), destroying home goods, and excessive barking.
  • Fear – Fear-based anxiety occurs when the dog encounters an object, sound, or situation that causes fear, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, and other loud noises. Additionally, dogs learn to associate the companionable sounds of storms, such as rain and wind, with the scary event. That’s why some signs of anxiety in dogs even appear if they merely sense a storm is on the way.
  • Changes in Environment – According to ABC Everyday, “Less common forms of anxiety can involve changes in environment, such as going to the vet, in the car or moving house.” It also includes holiday traveling (whether they travel with their owners or are boarded).

The Signs of Anxiety in Dogs

If you are planning to do any traveling over the holidays, be on the lookout for the following signs of anxiety in dogs from AKC.

How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

  • Aggression
  • Urinating or defecating in the house
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Destructive behavior
  • Depression
  • Excessive barking
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Repetitive or compulsive behaviors

Just like humans, it is normal to anxious on occasion; however, it becomes a problem when the behaviors become routine. For instance, if your dog showcases his anxiety with aggression, it’s a problem.

Tips for Treating Your Dog’s Anxiety

The good news is that there are many ways to treat your dog’s anxiety. If your pup is showing signs of anxiety, speak with your veterinarian. Not only will your veterinarian provide advice on how to ease his anxiety, but your vet will also help you identify possible triggers.

Your veterinarian may recommend a combination of the following treatments for dog anxiety.

  • Behavior Training – Ideally, the best way to address your dog’s anxiety is to deal with the cause directly. This requires behavior training. For example, try to replace your dog’s negative associations with positive ones. AKC recommends, “The owner slowly introduces the dog to the source of anxiety, preferably in small doses and at a decreased intensity. Repeated exposure and rewarding positive behavior can go a long way toward managing anxiety.”
  • Medication – Yes, your pup may be prescribed medication for anxiety. However, this is a medicine used to treat this condition in dogs, so you should not try to ease holiday travel anxiety by making him sleepy with Benadryl. Instead, speak with your veterinarian, who may prescribe a dog-friendly anti-anxiety medication.
  • Pheromones – If you prefer to avoid medication, you can try the natural route with dog appeasing pheromones. Rover explains, “Nursing dogs, for example, release a special kind of comforting pheromone to let their offspring know they are safe—and that’s exactly the pheromone that’s effective in calming an anxious dog. This pheromone, termed dog appeasing pheromone (DAP), has been produced synthetically. The synthetic version is available in several formats, including room diffusers, spray, edible treats, and wearable collars.” How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs
  • Other Boarding Options – If your dog becomes anxious on visits to the vet, it might not be the best idea to board him there over the holidays. Instead, look for stress-free boarding options. [Related Read: 7 Alternatives to Dog Boarding Facilities This Holiday Season]
  • ThunderShirt – You might have already heard of the popular ThunderShirt designed to ease dog’s anxiety from thunderstorms. Many dog owners claim this type of anxiety vest works. VCA Hospital explains, “When worn properly, anxiety wraps distribute pressure over the back and sides of the dog’s chest, serving as a calming ‘hug.’ Scientifically, gentle pressure releases chemicals called endorphins that promote a sense of well-being.”
  • Pack Comfort Items – Whether your four-legged family member is joining you on your holiday travels or you are taking him to a friend’s home, be sure to pack his comfort items. Items with scents your dog recognizes, such as blankets and stuffed dog toys, will be comforting and soothing.
  • Cuddle and Comfort – If your dog runs into your arms during a thunderstorm, it is perfectly acceptable to comfort and cuddle him. He’s your fur-baby, so treat him like one.

At Super Scoopers, we’ve seen our fair share of anxious dogs when we visit homes to scoop their poop (we get it – they’re just protecting their space and family). But that doesn’t make us experts on treating anxiety. For treatment plans, contact your veterinarian. For yard scooping, contact us.

Depression and anxiety can affect dogs, much like humans. Here, our Southeast Memphis vets share what symptoms to look for and how to help cheer up your furry four-legged friend.

It’s true, dogs are capable of suffering from depression and anxiety. This is because they are intelligent creatures who, like humans, experience a range of emotions.

What causes depression and anxiety in dogs?

A major change or a distressing event in a dog’s life can sometimes bring on symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.

For example, the loss of its owner or a companion animal, or even a sense of grief being experienced by those around them, can all affect a dog’s overall emotions.

Big life changes, such as a move to a new house, a new baby or a new pet, may also have an impact on a dog’s emotions. Generally, any significant change to your dog’s daily routine may bring on symptoms of depression or anxiety.

How do I know if my dog has depression?

The symptoms of depression in dogs are similar to those experienced by people.

Common symptoms include low activity levels, a loss in interest in the things they once enjoyed, and a change in eating and/or sleeping habits.

Some dogs may also show signs of aggression, including uncharacteristic howling or whining.

How do I know if my dog has anxiety?

Signs of anxiety in dogs may include trembling, tail-tucking, hiding, reduced activity and passive escape behaviors. They may also experience signs of panic including panting, pacing and active escape behavior.

Physical symptoms of anxiety in dogs may include sympathetic autonomic nervous system activity, like diarrhea, or lesions causing them to lick or bite their own body.

How can I help treat my dog’s depression or anxiety?

The good news is that dogs can often overcome depression and/or anxiety on their own. Depending on the dog and the situation, it can take days to months. No matter what, the love and care of their owners, and sometimes some guidance from your veterinarian, can help them overcome the blues.

Pet owners can try the following techniques:

  • Offer your dog more attention. But wait until you see some signs of happiness, like a wagging tail, and reward them for that behavior.
  • Keep your dog active with regular walks, playtimes, and other activities you know they enjoy.
  • If your dog’s symptoms are related to the loss of an animal companion, consider getting another pet or start socializing them with other pets.

Depending on the severity of their symptoms your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-anxiety medication as well as recommend behavior management techniques.

In some cases, depression and/or anxiety may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition in a dog. If your pet has not recently experienced a major life change or distressing event, talk to your veterinarian about what else could be troubling them.

At PetHub, we like to be transparent: we have affiliate relationships with other companies (Amazon and Chewy included), and we may receive a commission on qualifying purchases made via the links in this article at no extra cost to you.

A little bit of stress, or fear, in life can be normal. However, it becomes a problem when your dog’s reaction becomes extreme and persistent.

Being able to recognize when your dog is fearful and anxious, and identifying the cause, is the key to determining how to calm a nervous dog. Once you know those things, you can develop a strategy to address the issue. The less anxious they are, the less likely your dog is to run away from shock .

How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

Common Behavior of Nervous and Anxious Dogs

  • Spontaneously eliminating in the house (peeing or pooping)
  • Exhibiting destructive behavior
  • Tucking their Tail
  • Their pupils are dilated
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Whining or whimpering
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Fidgeting
  • Trying to hide or escape
  • Trembling
  • Excessively licking
  • Avoiding interactions
  • Showing displacement behaviors like yawning, lip licking, air sniffing, or “shaking it off” like a wet dog

How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

The Difference Between Fear, Phobia, and Anxiety in Dogs

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Fear Anxiety – When Your Dog is Calm One Minute and Scared the Next

  • Insects if dogs have received painful bites or stings from them
  • Humans, often men or certain apparel, that they associate with a traumatic situation
  • Blood draws or injections at the veterinarian if they are associated with painful moments in the dog’s memory

Generalized Anxiety – When Your Dog Always Seems on Edge with No Explanation

Tricks to Help your Anxious Dog

  • Conditioning your dog to have a neutral or positive association with their trigger (possibly with the assistance of a dog trainer or behaviorist)
  • Providing your dogs with entertainment and distractions like the popular DogTV or with a personalized toy from Patchwork Pet.
  • Controlling your dog’s environment by taking steps to avoid the object or situation
  • Using a natural calming aid like aromatherapy and essential oils, the Calmz wearable calming device from Petmate, or one of these other natural calming products created for pets.
  • Getting anti-anxiety medication from your veterinarian

Want more highly-rated and curated products for your pet’s anxiety? Check out the following.

For your doggo’s anxiety try: Zesty Paws Calming Bites.

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  • Dog Anxiety Symptoms Chicago, IL

    As a dog owner in Chicago, it’s important for you to be as in-tune as possible with your dog’s needs and feelings. The more easily you can recognize your dog’s feelings, the easier it will be for you to care for her. One of the ways you can do this is to learn how to recognize signs of anxiety in your pet.

    In the article below, you’ll find information about some of the most common symptoms of anxiety in dogs. You can use this article to help you learn when your dog might be exhibiting these symptoms and when you should talk to the vet, too.

    7 Symptoms to Look For

    Dog Pacing

    When your dog is anxious, she may start pacing back and forth. She might have a route she takes every time she paces, or the pacing may be erratic, depending on the situation. She may be unable or unwilling to settle down and get comfortable because of her anxiety.

    Pacing can sometimes also be a symptom of pain and illness in dogs. If you think there’s any chance your dog is sick or injured instead of just anxious, be sure to take her to the vet right away. If you’re sure the problem is anxiety, however, you can work to help your dog calm down instead.

    Dog Whining and Barking

    Whining is common in dogs who are anxious, because they want the attention and protection of their human family members. Don’t coddle your dog if she’s whining out of anxiety, and work to reward her for times when she’s quiet instead.

    The same is true of barking. If your dog is barking out of anxiety, you must work to train her to stay quiet instead. Both whining and barking can sometimes indicate pain, however, so make sure your dog isn’t in pain before working on this training.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Licking Feet and Legs

    One of the most common signs of anxiety in dogs is the obsessive, frequent licking of the feet and legs. If your dog repeatedly licks and chews on her legs and feet, chances are good she’s dealing with anxiety and is trying to find a healthy way to process this feeling.

    Dogs who lick their legs and feet too much may be at risk of hot spots or hair loss. If your dog develops hot spots, you’ll need to work with your vet to figure out the best solution for treating the condition.

    Dog Destructive Behavior

    Dogs who have a lot of anxiety tend to become more destructive than those who don’t, especially when faced with the source of their anxiety. For example, if your dog is anxious when left home alone and you leave her uncrated by herself for several hours, you may come home to a shredded sofa or some destroyed pillows.

    If your dog is very destructive only at times when she must deal with her anxiety issues, you can work to train her to stop behaving this way. In very severe instances, your vet may be able to prescribe anxiety medication for your pet as well.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Potty Accidents

    Dogs who have anxiety issues may be prone to urinating, defecating, or both indoors when the anxiety source crops up. For example, if your dog is afraid of thunder or fireworks, she may start having potty accidents in the house when she hears these noises going on outside.

    If the potty accidents only occur at times when your dog is very anxious, then you know they’re probably related to her anxiety. If, however, they happen all the time, this could be an indication of a health problem. You should take your pet to the vet if she is older than a puppy and is unable to control her potty needs at all times.

    Dog Hiding

    Finally, hiding is a common sign associated with anxiety in dogs as well. Dogs may hide under or behind furniture, in closets or cupboards, or under blankets if they feel anxious. This usually happens acutely, meaning that it only occurs when your dog is faced with the problem causing her anxiety.

    If your dog is hiding almost all the time, however, this is a sign that she’s dealing with some pain or illnehe backss. Dogs who hide more often than not are almost always hurting and need to be treated by a vet right away.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    When to Visit Your Vet in Chicago

    Do you feel like you’ve learned something useful about anxiety symptoms in your dog? With the help of this information, you should be able to figure out when it’s time to talk to your vet about your dog’s anxiety. If the time is now please give our vet a call at (773) 698-7525 or Request an Appointment.

    As the busy holiday season approaches, your stress level likely rises through the roof with all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and entertaining needed to prepare for your celebrations. Your loyal furry companion will pick up on your stress and anxiety about the holiday season, and may become stressed themselves when faced with the chaos and commotion of a full house. Although this year’s gatherings will be smaller or perhaps non-existent because of COVID-19, any changes in household routine may stress out your pet, and the best way to manage their nerves is through advance preparation and planning. By learning the signs of fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) in pets, you can quickly detect your own pet’s stress and take steps to mitigate their anxiety.

    What does fear, anxiety, and stress look like in pets?

    Pets can display FAS in many ways, and the signs are often difficult to detect unless you know what to look for, especially in cats. Dogs who are stressed generally send more obvious signals, with outright aggression the simplest to identify. You should learn to quickly recognize your pet’s anxiety cues to prevent escalation to aggression. During the holidays or other potentially stressful events, keep a close eye out for the following FAS signs in your pet:

    • Dilated pupils
    • Flattened ears
    • Tail tucked tight to the body
    • Furrowed brow
    • Crouched body position
    • Leaning away from threat
    • Increased respiratory rate
    • Raised hair along the spine and tail
    • Displaying the whites of the eye
    • Licking the lips
    • Trembling
    • Frozen in fear

    During the holiday season, any number of these stress-induced signals from your pet are a cry for help. For example, a rowdy bunch of children won’t leave your poor cat alone, and keep toting them around your home, despite their frantic movements and panicked meows. Or, your dog is nervous when strange people keep bending down to pet them, which is threatening in the animal world, so they cower in the corner and display nervous body language. If your furry pal is not a social butterfly and prefers small family gatherings, ensure their comfort this holiday season.

    How can I reduce my pet’s fear, anxiety, and stress during the holidays?

    While you can anticipate certain stressful holiday events that can make your furry pal anxious, you may run into issues outside your control. To keep your four-legged friend calm and relaxed this holiday season, follow these tips:

    • Monitor your pet’s body language — You likely wish your pet could simply speak and tell you when they are nervous, not realizing they often do—without words. Be on the lookout for any clues that your pet may be uncomfortable, despite a seemingly benign situation.
    • Be your pet’s advocate — If you recognize a situation that your pet does not appreciate, tell your guests to leave them alone. Be your pet’s voice and advocate for their mental well-being. Do not let small children tug and prod, and especially do not let them sit on your pet. Tell guests not to chase your pet for any reason, but to let them come to the guest on their terms.
    • Create a safe haven — Sometimes, though, all the hubbub is too much, and removing your pet from the situation makes for a happier cat or dog. Rather than leaving your pet in a chaotic, cacophonous celebration, create a special spot only for them in a back bedroom that is off-limits to guests. Put a cozy bed in the room, diffuse species-specific calming pheromones, play soothing music to drown out the noise, and distract your pet with a long-lasting, delicious treat.

    Why is low-stress veterinary care important for my pet?

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Since situations in familiar surroundings can create stress and anxiety in your pet, it’s no surprise that veterinary visits can do the same. Here at Southwest Vet , we take extra time to evaluate pets for subtle FAS signals, and take steps to alleviate their discomfort. We understand how stressful veterinary visits can be for pets—and their owners—and we wanted to change that, to ensure more pets receive quality veterinary care. So, we embraced the low-stress initiative, which focuses on reading our patients’ body language, and reacting appropriately, by trying a different restraint method, a novel treat, or using sedation. We pride ourselves on being in-tune with your pet’s mental state by closely following the FAS scorecard and spectrum to determine your pet’s comfort while under our care. Our goal is to always achieve the lowest number possible on the FAS spectrum by trying new ways to soothe your pet during their visit.

    Learn more about the low-stress veterinary care Southwest Vet provides by giving us a call to schedule your pet’s next appointment. You will see what a difference our focus on FAS can make in your furry companion’s life.

    Dogs are social animals, but just like us, there are things that can make them frightened and anxious.

    Whether it’s encountering new people, travelling in the car or being left alone, dogs can’t tell us what’s making them nervous. That’s why it’s important to spot the signs early so you can help them overcome their fears and build their confidence.

    What is anxiety?

    Anxiety is a natural emotion brought on by feelings of worry or fear about things that might happen. Our dogs can develop anxiety for a number of reasons. It’s our job as owners to support them and help them find effective coping mechanisms.

    What does anxiety look like?

    Anxiety comes in many forms and there are different ways dogs might show their anxiety. The most common one for dogs who struggle to be left alone is by barking, howling or becoming destructive. In extreme cases, this might become uncontrollable to the point where they might cause themselves an injury.

    If your dog is showing these signs when left at home alone, please contact us and we will create an individual training plan for your dog and work with you to help this issue.

    Other signs of anxiety include:

    • Reluctance to eat – will your dog take food at home but not on a walk?
    • Hypervigilance/lack of ability to concentrate – does your dog struggle to listen to cues when out and about? Is he always alert, struggling to concentrate or sniffing the ground?
    • Has your dog stopped going to the toilet when out on walks?
    • Is your dog reluctant to have his lead or harness put on?
    • Does your dog bark at every little sound?
    • Do they shake or whine?
    • Is your dog panting more often, even when he’s not warm?
    • Does your dog struggle to settle down to sleep? Does he follow you from room to room?

    This is by no means a definitive list of signs, but if your dog is showing one or more of these, do get in touch to chat with our experts.

    How can you help your anxious dog?

    Anxiety is the fear of the unknown, so keeping to a routine as much as possible will avoid any surprises that might upset your anxious dog. This is sometimes hard to do in our modern everyday lives, so having a cue for each unexpected situation can be a good compromise.

    Asking your dog if he wants to do things can help him predict what’s coming next, and feel better about it. Using phrases like “Let’s put your lead on”, “Do you want to go in the car?” or “Shall we go in the garden?”, can bring a bit of predictability to our dog’s day, helping them cope with potentially stressful events.

    Giving your dog some control can be a great way of empowering them, and building their confidence. Using food puzzles, Kongs, cardboard boxes or towels is a great way of keeping your dog mentally stimulated. Challenging their mind will give your dog a little win! If you’re looking for more ways of keeping your dog entertained and mentally active, read our article here.

    Teaching your dog new tricks using positive reinforcement can be a great way of building their confidence. Once your dog has a few in their repertoire, you can use these cues in situations where your dog might be anxious. If you can get him to respond you will be flooding his body with happy endorphins, banishing those fearful emotions.

    Here is a selection of our favourite tricks and games:

    • Find it game – great to play with your dog while you are spending more time in your house and garden.
    • The go around trick – fun little trick to keep your dog entertained and mentally engaged.
    • The hand touch – teaching your dog a hand-touch is useful for many reasons, one of these is it’s help reassure your dog that an outstretched hand is not a threat.
    • Find my keys game – a fun scent game to introduce to your dog to help release those feel-good chemicals.

    Scent games and activities

    There have been lots of recent studies around scent in our dog’s lives. We can use this to our advantage with anxious dogs, as scent activities can build resilience and optimism in our pets.

    Following a scent and searching for items or food actually changes the brain chemistry, releasing feel good chemicals and help tire out an anxious brain. Instead of throwing a ball repeatedly for your dog to chase (which fills his brain with activity related adrenaline) try hiding a few toys in the garden, in boxes, or around the house for him to search for with his nose.

    Playing and having fun

    Playing with your dog can also change their emotions for the better. Think about what kind of game your dog will like, for example, collies tend to enjoy chasing and catching games, whereas terriers might prefer chasing, grabbing and tugging. Gun dogs are likely to enjoy searching and finding games.

    Playing and having fun will help your dog relax and release those positive endorphins. Some dogs however, will have to be encouraged to learn how to play.

    Taking a break from walks

    If your dog is anxious about going for walks, it’s okay to take some time off. Perhaps you could just play some games in the home or garden and work on some basic training or tricks.

    Taking a break from the activity your dog finds scary can make future walks more positive, especially if you let your dog have some control. Let them pick the route (as long as it’s safe!) and only stay out for as long as they want. If you feel their anxiety levels rising, change the subject with find it games, trick practice or some playtime. Some dogs cope better if you stick to familiar, quiet routes, too much change and stimulation can feed into their anxiety.

    If you want to change your routine, make sure you do this gradually. For example, if you try a brand-new route on your walk one day, do a familiar walk (or play in the garden) the day after. This will allow your dog to recover from the experience.

    Anxiety remedies

    There are a number of natural remedies available over the counter that can help your dog cope with mild anxiety, but if the level of anxiety is high, a chat with your vet may be worthwhile. Anti-anxiety medications are not designed to be given forever, but they give you a window of calm so you can teach your dog a new way to behave.

    Initially, try not to expose your dog to things that frighten them. As their confidence grows, you can gradually make their world bigger as they learn to cope with things that scare them. Over-exposure to things that frighten them will hinder the progress and cause them to regress.

    Many dogs and owners are living with anxiety. If you need more advice or support, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Many people suffer from anxiety at some point in their lives. Fortunately for humans, there are resources and tools readily available to help us decrease our anxieties. But what about our four-legged counterparts? Do they feel anxiety too? And if so, how can we best help them when they are unable to express what’s plaguing them?

    Breaking Down Anxiety in Pets

    Like us, animals can develop anxiety. Victims of cruelty, abuse or neglect, may be especially prone to anxiety. But anxiety can occur in animals from any background.

    Separation anxiety is most commonly seen in pets. Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs or cats become upset because of separation from their guardians, or the people they’re attached to. Escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety are often extreme and can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors.

    There is no conclusive evidence showing exactly why pets develop anxiety. However, because far more pets who have been adopted from shelters have this behavior problem than those kept by a single family since puppyhood, it is believed that the loss of an important person or group of people in a dog’s life can lead to separation anxiety. Other less dramatic changes can also trigger the disorder such as a change in schedule, in residence or in household membership.

    Recognizing the Signs

    One of the most common complaints of pet parents is that their dogs are disruptive or destructive when left alone or when they are attempting to leave. Their dogs might:

    • Urinate or defecate
    • Bark or Howl
    • Chew/destroy things
    • Dig
    • Try to escape
    • Pace
    • Attempt to prevent you from leaving

    Although these problems often indicate that a dog needs to be taught polite house manners, they can also be symptoms of distress. When a dog’s problems are accompanied by other distress behaviors, such as drooling and showing anxiety or depression when his pet parents prepare to leave the house, it’s likely evidence that the dog has separation anxiety.

    In cats, signs like hiding, not eating, social withdrawal, panting, hypervigilance, dilated pupils, aggression and twitching tails or ears can indicate stress and anxiety.

    How to Help

    Since a pet can’t call their therapist when they need a lift, it is up to pet parents to help their furry friends when dealing with pet anxiety.

    First things first, you want to rule out any medical conditions. Some dogs’ house soiling is caused by incontinence. A number of medical issues can cause urinary incontinence in dogs. Before attempting behavior modification for separation anxiety, see your veterinarian to rule out medical issues.

    Also, be mindful of any medications your pet may be on. There are several medications that can cause frequent urination and house soiling. If your pet takes any medications, please contact their veterinarian to find out whether their medications might contribute to house-soiling or other problems.

    You’ll also want to rule out any behavioral problems such as submissive or excitement urination, urine marking, juvenile destruction, boredom and excessive barking, howling or vocalization due to environmental factors.

    Do not scold or punish your dog or cat. Anxious behaviors are not the result of disobedience or spite. They are distress responses. If you punish them, they may become even more upset and the problem could get much worse.

    Treatment Options

    Once you’ve determined that your pet is experiencing anxiety, there are many methods you can use to help soothe your dog and make them feel more comfortable when being left alone:

    Desensitization and counterconditioning are common methods, but they are complex and can be tricky to carry out. For help designing and carrying out a desensitization and counterconditioning plan for your pet, we recommend that you consult a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB). If you can’t find a behaviorist, you can seek help from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) but be sure that the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience in treating fear with desensitization and counterconditioning. See our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these experts in your area.

    Crate training can also be helpful for some dogs if they learn that the crate is their safe place to go when left alone. However, for other dogs, the crate can cause added stress and anxiety. In order to determine whether or not you should try using a crate, monitor your dog’s behavior during crate training and when he’s left in the crate while you’re home. If he shows signs of distress, crate confinement isn’t the best option for him. Instead of using a crate, you can try confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate.

    Giving your dog plenty of “jobs” to do can also be helpful. Providing lots of physical and mental stimulation can be a vital part of anxiety treatment and exercising your dog’s mind and body can greatly enrich his life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal dog behaviors. Keep your dog busy and happy by incorporating additional aerobic activity into your routine, playing fun, interactive games, walking on new routes and trails, providing food puzzle toys or enrolling in a rewards-based training class.

    Medication or supplements may be the right option for your pet, as the use of medications can be very helpful, especially for severe cases of anxiety. On rare occasions, a dog with mild separation anxiety might benefit from drug therapy alone, without accompanying behavior modification. Sometimes for cats, veterinarians will advise using pheromones or calming treats before prescribing medication. Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your dog or cat any type of medication or supplement for a behavior problem.

    Much like humans, dogs can suffer from fear and anxiety. Dog Anxiety Awareness Week occurs annually during the first week of May. This year it begins May 2nd and runs through May 8th.

    The purpose of the week is to bring much-needed attention to the emotional well-being of your furry friend. In support of this initiative, we are providing information to help you recognize anxiety in your dog and give you some tips on how to deal with it.

    How to Recognize Anxiety

    Since dogs can’t just tell you what they are feeling, it is important for you to be aware of any changes in their behavior, and knowing the signs of uneasiness can help.

    • Behavioral: If your dog visibly tenses up, shows his teeth, growls, or arches his back, then he can be experiencing anxiety. Sometimes your dog will show anxiety in a different manner. He might hide, sleep a lot, and become generally lethargic.
    • Eating: Any change in your dog’s appetite could be a sign that something is wrong. Some dogs even begin to eat non-edible objects like shoes.
    • Bathroom: If there is a change in your dog’s bathroom habits, it can be a sign that something is bothering him.

    Triggers for Anxiety

    There are endless factors that may evoke anxiety in your pup, but it is helpful to be aware of the most common issues.

    • Location: If you live in a loud or noisy area, it may provoke anxiety for your dog.
    • Special Occasions: The most anxiety-provoking holidays include New Year’s Eve and July 4th. Fireworks, gunshots, or a knock on your front door can all be super scary.
    • Weather: Storms can really be devastating to your dog’s mental health. Some research claims that animals can sense storms before they arrive. Loud claps of thunder are especially unsettling.
    • Life changes: If you have recently welcomed a new baby, furry or otherwise, into your family, this could trigger anxiety in your pet. With people going back to work for the first time in over a year, separation anxiety could also be triggered.

    For more, practical tips, click here.

    Not all dogs suffer from anxiety, but for those who do, it needs to be addressed quickly. Remember that your pets are sensitive to change and can develop anxiety easily. If your dog is experiencing anxiety you could ask one of our team members at Braxton’s about our selection of calming aids.

    Affiliation

    • 1 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6010, USA.
    • PMID: 11518172
    • DOI: 10.2460/javma.2001.219.467
    • Search in PubMed
    • Search in NLM Catalog
    • Add to Search

    Authors

    Affiliation

    • 1 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6010, USA.
    • PMID: 11518172
    • DOI: 10.2460/javma.2001.219.467

    Abstract

    Objective: To determine the frequency of nonspecific clinical signs in dogs with separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, noise phobia, or any combination of these conditions and determine whether these conditions are associated in dogs.

    Design: Case series.

    Animals: 141 dogs.

    Procedure: Diagnoses were established using specific criteria. Owners of dogs completed a questionnaire on how frequently their dogs exhibited destructive behavior, urination, defecation, vocalization, and salivation when the owners were absent and the types and frequency of reactions to thunderstorms, fireworks, and other noises.

    Results: Associations of the 3 conditions and of various nonspecific clinical signs within and between diagnoses were nonrandom. The probability that a dog would have separation anxiety given that it had noise phobia was high (0.88) and approximately the same as the probability it would have separation anxiety given that it had thunderstorm phobia (0.86). However, the probability that a dog would have noise phobia given that it had separation anxiety (0.63) was higher than the probability that it would have thunderstorm phobia given that it had separation anxiety (0.52). The probability that a dog would have noise phobia given that it had thunderstorm phobia (0.90) was not equivalent to the converse (0.76).

    Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results suggested that dogs with any of these conditions should be screened for the others. Interactions among these conditions are important in the assessment and treatment of dogs with > 1 of these conditions. Responses to noise were different from those to thunderstorms, possibly because of the unpredictability and uncertainty of thunderstorms.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogsSeparation anxiety happens when a dog is separated from his or her owner, and it’s often because they’re feeling distressed. There are several reasons that dogs find it difficult to cope when left alone. Some dogs will be looking for things to do to entertain themselves while their owner is away, while others will be very upset when separated from their owner.

    Research suggests that 8 out of 10 dogs will find it hard to cope when left on their own, but half of these won’t show any obvious signs, so it can be very easy for owners to miss. The good news is that separation anxiety is preventable. Here’s how to spot it and what to do.

    Signs your dog has separation anxiety

    Returning to a dog who’s really happy to see you doesn’t mean that he or she hasn’t been suffering silently while you’ve been out. You may know the obvious signs of separation anxiety in dogs, such as destroying furniture or barking, but did you know that there are other signs that you may be missing?

    The most common signs of separation anxiety in dogs are:

    • Destructive behaviour – often targeted at the door you left the house from, as well as chewing and destroying furniture
    • Noise – such as howling and barking
    • Toileting – weeing or pooing in the house

    Other less frequent signs (that can be more easily missed) include:

    • Trembling, whining or pacing
    • Excessive salivation
    • Self-mutilation
    • Repetitive behaviour
    • Vomiting

    Taking the time to check for these signs by filming your dog when they’re home alone will help you spot potential issues, even if you don’t believe there are any.

    Is it separation anxiety or something else?

    One of the main ways of distinguishing between separation-related behaviour and other behavioural disorders with similar signs is that the behaviour is in response to you leaving the house and is displayed soon after you leave. It normally starts within 30 minutes, and often, within the first few minutes.

    Even if you think your dog is happy to be left alone, check every once in a while for ‘hidden’ signs that your dog may be distressed by filming your pet while you’re out.

    If you believe your dog may have separation anxiety, read our advice on how to teach your dog that it’s ok to be left alone.

    Pets may be left unhappy as families return to work and school

    • 06:50, 6 SEP 2021

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Lockdowns, restrictions and working from home have all led to pet owners spending a lot more time with their dogs than they normally would.

    Now that most children have gone back to school and people are gradually returning to the office, our canine companions are faced with another change to their routine as they adapt to spending more time alone.

    Dr Karen Heskin, Head of Pets at Pets at Home Group, said: “Many pets thrive with predictability and can find a change of routine unsettling. Regardless of whether you have an older or a younger pet, it’s possible they will become stressed or anxious as they return to being left alone for longer periods.

    “There are some things you can put in place that will help your pet get used to the idea of you not always being around, but it’s important you introduce these as early as you can to get them ready them for the change.”

    To help prepare your dog for the return to normality, experts from Pets at Home Group have shared their top five tips on how to make the transition as smooth as possible:

    Watch out for signs of separation anxiety

    All dogs are different, so naturally some will find it more difficult to adapt to spending more time alone than others.

    As your pet can’t tell you they feel separation anxiety, it’s important that you look out for certain clues that may suggest your they doesn’t like being left alone.

    These can often include changes in behaviour when they spot you are getting ready to go out, making noises when you leave, unexpected toilet accidents and destructive behaviour.

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    Introduce a strict routine

    Predictability can help to reduce stress in dogs, so it’s a good idea to have a daily routine in place that your dog is familiar with.

    Some things you should consider, include:

    • Keep to the same hours – Make sure you stick to the same times when getting up and going to bed. This way your pet will know when they’ll be let in and out or have their last toilet break of the evening.
    • Mealtimes – Stick to regular mealtimes for your dog to stop them from wondering when dinner is going to appear.
    • Regular exercise – Try taking your dog on a walk or letting them out at the same times. That way they won’t be anxious and wondering when they will be allowed out.
    • Remind them of their independence

    Most dogs have the skills to be left alone safely, whether you’re just in the next room or when you leave to go out.

    Try reminding them of their independence by spending time in a different room, or pop them in their crate for a while. You can leave a radio on for them to provide background noise.

    Once they are comfortable with this, practice leaving them alone for longer periods. Just make sure they always have plenty of safe toys to keep them occupied, and a comfy place to rest.

    If your dog is very young and has never been left before, remember that they’re likely to need to go to the toilet more frequently than older dogs. When teaching them about being left, limit their time alone and, where possible, time it for when they’ve had a play and would normally be going for a nap.

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    Don’t make a big fuss when you leave or come back to your dog

    Dogs can predict when we’re about to leave them by spotting subtle cues and signals we’re giving out.

    It’s important you don’t make a big fuss when you leave or come back to your pet, as that only makes it more rewarding.

    Instead, greet them calmly once you’ve got indoors and have put your keys away. If you make leaving and returning less of an event, it can help pets to feel more relaxed.

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    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

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    Keep your dog occupied

    Separation-related issues aren’t always caused by anxiety at being left – some pets get bored on their own and may entertain themselves by taking apart your soft furnishings or chewing off your cupboard handles.

    To help avoid this, be sure to supply your four-legged friend with plenty of boredom-busting puzzles, toys and treats before leaving them for long periods of time.

    If you are seeing signs of separation-related behaviour in your dog and would like some support, the teams at Pets at Home or Vets4Pets, both part of the Pets at Home Group family, will be able to help.

    For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Is your dog afraid of thunder? Storm Anxiety can develop in dogs between ages two and four. As your dog grows older, storm anxiety can evolve into hiding, whining, scratching, slobbering or sheer panic. No worries. Your dog may be displaying symptoms of dog storm anxiety. Dogs cannot express their fears in words, and so must communicate in body language that might be difficult for their owners to translate. Possibly because their superior hearing allows them to hear thunder rumbling further away, or they detect other changes in barometric pressure or scents, dogs may begin to react to a storm long before it occurs. Because these changes are indiscernible to humans, it may seem to us that our dogs are simply acting strangely, or even misbehaving.

    Some dog owners may try to discipline their pets’ behavior because they don’t recognize the signs of anxiety, which only reinforces the negative association with storms. If we can learn to distinguish the symptoms of canine anxiety, we can not only avoid unnecessary scolding, but we can also take early action to relieve their stress before the storm hits. Symptoms of canine storm anxiety include:

    • Lowered ears and tail, wide eyes
    • Pacing
    • Panting and drooling
    • Trembling
    • Whining or howling
    • Hiding
    • Involuntary indoor urination
    • Destructive behavior or even self-harm (i.e., clawing in an effort to escape, running away

    Common triggers of these symptoms vary from dog to dog, and may change in individual animals as time goes on and their anxiety grows. Some dogs may react fearfully to darkened skies or light rain showers just because they’ve come to associate them with harsher storm conditions.

    Other triggers include:

    • Changes in smell
    • Changes in barometric pressure
    • Static electricity
    • Wind
    • Pouring rain
    • Lightning
    • Low-frequency rumbling
    • Thunder

    Relieving Storm Anxiety Symptoms

    There is no cure for storm anxiety or noise aversion, but there are several methods to help dogs cope with their fear. While the habit of panicking at loud noises is an easy one to form, reversing this habit often requires a lot of time, consistency, and patience. To avoid severe reactions to storms, animal behaviorists recommend using a combination of behavior modification and fear desensitization before storm season even begins.

    The following tips can help your dog cope with storm anxiety:

    1. Give your dog a safe space. Provide a safe indoor area, like a crate. A plastic crate is preferable – but if you have a wire crate, you can cover it with a sheet to create the feeling of a haven. Leave the door open so your dog doesn’t feel trapped. If your dog is not used to a crate, provide a comfortable, small space like a corner or small bathroom. Be sure to fill it with familiar items such as your dog’s bed, favorite toys and water bowl. If there are windows in the room, close the blinds or curtains or cover the windows so the dog can’t see outside.
    2. Distract your dog. If your dog is afraid of thunder, play calming music to drown out the thunder claps. If your dog feels like playing, do so. You can also keep your dog distracted with treats and favorite toys.
    3. Prepare for the next storm. Is your dog scared of thunder? Maybe you should try desensitization. Download thunderstorm sounds and practice by playing them quietly to your dog, and give the dog treats or play a fun game with him while the sound is on. Gradually, over weeks, increase the volume. Stop the play or treats when the sounds are turned off. The goal is to help your dog relate the sound of thunderstorms with happy times.
    4. Check out products that may help your dog weather the storm. The right product can help calm dog storm anxiety. Tight jackets such as the Thundershirt provide a sensation of pressure, which can alleviate pets’ anxiety. (Swaddling a baby operates on the same principle.) You can also make a DIY version by buying a small T-shirt and putting the dog’s front legs through the armholes of the shirt. The shirt should fit snugly around your dog’s torso.
    5. Ask your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is the best person to talk to when it comes to dogs and thunder. He or she knows your dog, and will be best equipped to pinpoint exactly which stimulus is troubling your pet. In severe cases, your veterinarian may prescribe medication.

    Whether your dog has been struggling with a phobia of storms for years, or you’re looking to prevent a puppy from developing it in the first place, dealing with canine storm anxiety takes a lot of preparation, perseverance, and patience. Just as dogs cannot express the reason for their fears, it’s hard for us humans to explain that we’re trying to help. The best way to communicate our empathy is by doing all we can—through behavior modification, desensitization, medications, or a combination of one or more of these treatments—to help our dogs feel safe instead of scared.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Natasha is a Clinical Director-turned-Group veterinary Advisor for IVC Evidensia.

    She has significant experience in soft tissue surgery, including laparoscopic procedures.

    As loving pet owners, we want our dogs to lead happy and stress-free lives.

    It can be upsetting for us to see our dogs suffer with stress or anxiety, especially if we don’t know how to help.

    Navigate this article:

    Prolonged anxiety can have some challenging long-term effects, so it’s important to spot the symptoms early on.

    Let’s take a look at how to identify the signs of stress & anxiety in dogs, the causes of stress and what to do if you’re concerned.

    Stress and anxiety: what’s the difference?

    Stress and anxiety are often used in the same sentence and may have similar signs, but they are slightly different.

    Stress is caused by external factors. It’s a reaction to something occurring within the dog’s environment. I.e. if a firework goes off, a dog becomes stressed. Once the fireworks stop or the dog can no longer hear them, their stress levels are reduced.

    Anxiety, on the other hand, is caused by internal factors. I.e. if a dog hears fireworks and becomes incredibly stressed, this may lead to anxiety – which persists long after the fireworks have ended. Anxiety is more difficult to treat because, unlike stress, it isn’t always tied to one root cause.

    Signs of anxiety in dogs

    Your dog may be stressed or anxious if they display any of the following signs:

    • Diarrhoea or constipation
    • Hiding away
    • Lip licking
    • Fearful body language (cowering, tail between the legs)
    • Lethargy or excessive sleeping
    • Loss of appetite
    • Fear or discomfort around people and other animals
    • Fear of you leaving the house
    • Behaviour problems
    • Other changes in behaviour

    How serious is anxiety?

    If your dog shows any of the signs above, it’s useful to have a chat with your vet for 3 reasons:

    1. Most of these signs also occur with other conditions. Your vet will check your dog thoroughly and accurately diagnose their condition – whether it’s anxiety or not. After the diagnosis, they’ll recommend a suitable treatment plan.
    2. If left untreated, anxiety can weaken your dog’s immune system. Anxious dogs may develop further health conditions as a result of their anxiety.
    3. Anxiety is unpleasant for dogs as well as humans. If left untreated, it could get worse and your dog’s quality of life may start to deteriorate.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Common causes of stress & anxiety

    Anxiety is often a by-product of stress. But what makes dogs stressed? They have no deadlines or exams after all!

    Lots of scenarios can cause dogs to suffer stress, including:

    • The arrival of a new baby
    • A new pet
    • Visitors
    • Noises from outside i.e. thunderstorms or fireworks
    • The moving of furniture
    • A strange artefact brought into the home (i.e. Halloween masks)
    • Birds or wildlife outside
    • Being separated from their owner (separation anxiety)

    If a dog is exposed to more than one of these potential causes, for a prolonged amount of time, their stress may lead to anxiety. That said, anxiety doesn’t always have a fixed root cause. For example a rescue dog, abused by a previous owner, may suffer anxiety without being exposed to stressful stimuli.

    How to help a stressed dog

    The solution will depend on what’s causing your dog’s stress. For example, if you’ve welcomed a new pet or newborn baby to your home, you can’t just get rid of them!

    Prevent stress with a slow and steady introduction

    Try to introduce your dog to the new arrival in stages. Gradually introducing them to the sight, sound and smell of your new pet/baby can really help.

    If you’re redecorating or getting your house ready for Christmas, reduce stress by making changes gradually, over a few days if you can.

    Provide your dog with a safe hideout

    Always make sure your dog has somewhere safe and comfortable they can visit when they’re overwhelmed. This is especially useful during firework and Halloween season. If your dog does hide away in their crate/hideout, take care not to disturb.

    Don’t underestimate the value of exercise

    Lots of physical exercise and mental stimulation (such as walks and playtime) will help your dog channel their nervous energy. Couple this with a healthy diet and your dog’s immune system will be operating at its best!

    Steer clear of punishment

    If your dog’s stress or anxiety causes them to behave in a destructive manner, avoid punishing them. In your dog’s mind, punishment just makes stressful situations even more stressful; their anxiety will get worse, leading to more destructive behaviour in the long run.

    Don’t be scared to ask for help

    If you’ve done all you can to ease your dog’s stress & anxiety and their symptoms persist, have a chat with your local vet. There are lots of treatments available for stress & anxiety in dogs and they’ll happily advise you on how to help your furry friend.

    We recommend Vetpro: Stress & anxiety – developed and approved by expert vets and gets to work in just one hour!

    For expert advice on treatment for stress and reducing your dog’s anxiety, get in touch with your local vet.

    Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online today!

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Seeing our pets happy with their ears perked up is how we’d love to see them all the time. However, what do you do when they’re feeling anxious? Can you even tell your dog is anxious at the moment? The team at City Park Vet has put together a list of anxiety signs in dogs to look out for.

    Anxiety signs in dogs

    Anxiety signs in dogs can be subtle. If your pet is in a situation that could trigger anxiety, such as hearing a thunderstorm, going for a car ride, or meeting new people, watch for the following signs:

    • Shaking
    • Excessive panting or drooling
    • Seeking comfort or hiding
    • Aggression
    • Destruction
    • Inappropriate elimination
    • Excessive licking or chewing
    • Vocalization
    • Hyperactivity

    How to soothe anxiety in your dog

    Depending on what triggers your pet’s anxiety, some management methods may be more effective than others. However, a multimodal treatment plan generally works best. If you notice anxiety issues in your four-legged friend, try a combination of the following steps:

    • Remove your dog’s anxiety triggers — If your dog becomes increasingly agitated as people walk past your window, block their access. Removing anxiety triggers inside and outside your home can help calm your pet.
    • Stick to a schedule — Sudden changes in schedule, such as if you return to your office after working from home, can cause increased anxiety in your dog. Try to maintain the same daily schedule.
    • Create a safe space — If strangers visit or a thunderstorm rolls in, your dog will appreciate having a safe space to retreat to that’s outfitted with a cozy bed and plenty of long-lasting treats.
    • Exercise with your dog — A bored dog is more prone to behavior issues like anxiety. Daily mental and physical exercise will help tire out your pet and give their mind something else to focus on.

    Prepare for the upcoming fireworks on July 4th weekend by knowing how to spot anxiety in your pets. If you want more information on managing anxiety in dogs, contact our team!

    You’ll want to read this before the next thunderstorm hits.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Dogs suffer from stress and anxiety as much as people do, though it can be harder to recognize their symptoms. Your pet might try to tell you that he’s stressed by pushing his ears back, tucking his tail, salivating, yawning, licking his muzzle, or lifting his front paw. Other, more obvious signs of dog anxiety include cowering or hiding, trembling, panting, or expressing his anal glands.

    And just like people, there are plenty of ways to help relax and soothe pets. Love listening to a certain type of music to unwind? Apparently, so does your dog. When it comes to tension-taming tunes, pups seem to prefer the sounds of soft rock or reggae to jazz, pop, or Motown. Playing the music was linked to a decrease in shelter dogs’ heart rates (which is a sign of less stress) in one 2017 study.

    But even if you’re not a fan of Bob Marley or Michael Bolton, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to calm your furry friend . Here are five simple strategies worth trying:

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Before shelling out for any products that promise to soothe your pup’s stress, consider how you might be able to help him feel calmer. “Most of the time, pet owners do have to do something different to help manage and improve their dog’s anxiety,” explains veterinary behaviorist Meredith Stepita, DVM.

    For instance, having a predictable daily routine that helps your dog anticipate when he’ll get to eat, go outside, and spend time playing with you could help him feel more confident and less nervous. That’s especially true if his stress seems to stem from separation anxiety, Stepita says.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Those Thundershirts might make you pup look funny, but they really can make a difference. (And not just during thunderstorms or fireworks.) The wraps work by swaddling your dog and applying gentle, continuous pressure, which is thought to help reduce fear, says Stepita.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Reggae and soft rock aren’t the only genres that can encourage your pooch to relax. Classical music like Mozart and Beethoven has also been shown to reduce stress in dogs, and even encourage them to bark less.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Anecdotally, physical touch is thought to ease anxiety and aggression in dogs. And though there’s not much research to support this, gentle petting seems to help dogs stay calmer during stressful or uncomfortable situations like getting shots or having their blood drawn, suggests one small Applied Animal Behavior Science study.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    If you’re still struggling to find the key to calm, don’t give up. It’s important to pinpoint the source of your dog’s stress and find ways to manage it. Chances are, he won’t just learn to get over whatever’s upsetting him — and his anxiety will likely get worse, Stepita says.

    Consider meeting with a board-certified veterinary behaviorist or certified applied animal behaviorist, who can help you put together a specific plan to change your dog’s underlying emotional response— so he can get back to his happy, tail-wagging self.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

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    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    How can you tell if a dog is afraid? Knowing the signs and symptoms of a fearful dog can help you address his fears and phobias before they escalate. It may also help you avoid a dog bite or attack. Familiarize yourself with the signs of fear in dogs so you can pick up on hints that a dog is anxious and stressed about something in his environment.

    Body Language and Fear in Dogs

    Dogs communicate primarily using body language. Gestures such as bared teeth or a wagging tail are some of the more obvious ways dogs communicate through body language. However, some canine body language is more subtle. There are several signs look out for to determine when your dog is feeling fear or anxiety.

    • Flattened ears
    • Lip licking
    • Yawning
    • Cowering
    • Tail tucked between the hind legs
    • Raised hair on the back of the neck
    • Avoiding eye contact/averting the eyes
    • Scratching self frequently (when he was not previously itchy)

    Behaviors of a Fearful Dog

    In addition to showing fear through body language, some dogs exhibit specific behaviors when they are afraid. These behaviors are symptoms that a dog is feeling fearful and anxious:

    • Whining
    • Growling
    • Barking
    • Submissive urination
    • Snapping
    • Biting
    • Pacing
    • Destructiveness
    • Clinginess to owner
    • Hiding

    Physical Symptoms of Fear in Dogs

    When a dog is fearful, he may also exhibit some physical signs that it is unable to control. These are involuntary physiological symptoms of fear:

    • Drooling
    • Panting
    • Trembling
    • Dilated pupils or seeing the whites of a dog’s eyes
    • Loss of control over bowels or bladder

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    How to Deal with a Fearful Dog

    There remains some disagreement among animal professionals about the best way to treat fear in dogs. This symptom, incidentally, is often the most difficult problem to treat when rehabilitating (and giving a home to) shelter animals. Many of these dogs lack proper socialization. Some have been abused.

    Some mildly fearful dogs may be treated by loving owners without professional help. In these cases, one must be patient and have an understanding of the dog’s reality. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep in mind that a dog who runs away from a welcoming owner is genuinely afraid.

    One widely agreed-upon strategy is to give such a dog as much space as you can. Distracting the dog with obedience commands sometimes works. Valuable treats are usually helpful. It is rarely successful to punish a dog who has committed some act of aggression or engaged in destructive behavior. In a sense, a fearful dog expects to be punished. That may be one reason why the dog is fearful. This association needs to be stopped without punishment.

    Highly fearful dogs typically require professional help. Good dog trainers go far beyond obedience issues and are better qualified to retrain a greatly fearful dog than even the most loving owner. In many cases, the outcome will be an improvement but not total rehabilitation. Look for a skilled dog trainer or behaviorist with excellent recommendations.

    Many dog owners resist the use of medications to treat fear in dogs. However, dog professionals and veterinarians know that certain dogs are unable to respond to behavioral approaches alone. An animal in a high state of fear or anxiety is generally unable to learn new things. For these dogs, appropriate medications to reduce anxiety can be helpful. Medication alone is not a solution. However, it can be a useful tool to reduce your dog’s anxiety and fear enough to allow behavioral approaches to take effect. The medication may not even need to be permanent.

    If you feel your dog is frequently in a state of extreme fear and anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about your concerns. Your vet may prescribe medication and provide you with resources for training and behavior modification. Your vet may also refer you to a veterinary behaviorist, and applied animal behaviorist, or a skilled dog trainer.

    It’s important that you understand it will take time to help your dog conquer his fears. Remain patient and act with consistency. Stay in contact with the professionals who have helped you. Follow the instructions provided by professionals and see each method through. If something is not working, there may be an alternative method for managing your dog’s fears.

    Anxiety can affect all breeds, but there are lots of ways you can help

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    Just like us, dogs can also have panic attacks in certain circumstances. Often known as an episode of anxiety, they are remarkably similar to panic attacks in people and can be caused by extreme noise phobias (fireworks) or anxiety. Some dogs may shake and tremble, while others may escape or run away.

    While canine panic disorders are difficult to treat because the causes are so variable, there are many things you can do to help your pup in their time of need. Keep reading for all you need to know, including what causes panic attacks in dogs, what symptoms to look out for, and how to help them.

    What causes panic attacks in dogs?

    “Panic attacks in humans may be similar to the severe reactions that can occur in some dogs with extreme noise phobias or anxiety,” PDSA Vet, Claire Roberts, tells Country Living. “Panic can appear when a dog is unable to escape or get away from something threatening, such as loud noises like thunderstorms. Similarly, dogs with separation anxiety can panic when they realise they are separated from their owner.”

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    What are the signs of panic attacks in dogs?

    Signs of panic attacks in dogs include:

    • Distressed whining
    • Barking
    • Shaking
    • Trembling
    • Dilated pupils
    • Panting
    • Standing still or freezing
    • Escaping or running away
    • Ignoring pain

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    How can you comfort a dog who is having a panic attack?

    Panic attacks in dogs can be very frightening, but there are lots of ways to soothe and comfort your pet. First, try to distract them with their favourite toy or blanket, giving them a gentle stroke to show you are there for them.

    Claire also suggests: “If your dog is in a panicked state, it’s very important to stay calm. The first thing to do is remove them from the source of their fear if possible. If the noise can’t be escaped, such as a storm, take them into a quieter space and try to mask the sounds, for example with the radio or TV.

    “Comfort them if they need reassurance and try to distract them with their favourite treat or game. Let them hide away if they want to – creating ‘safe’ areas such as dens can be set up ahead of predictable noises such as fireworks.”

    What should you do if you are worried about your dog?

    While it’s important to comfort your dog, there are several experts available to help with anxieties such as noises, and individually designed training programmes can help dogs feel less afraid.

    “Advice from your vet and a certified behaviourist should be sought as soon as possible – phobias and anxieties often become worse over time so early intervention is best,” adds Claire.

    For more information, head over to the PDSA’s guide on anxiety in dogs. If you are still concerned, contact your local vet for advice.

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    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    When you have dogs, you get to know their personalities and behaviors like no one else, so it’s easy to tell when something is wrong. So, why is my dog anxious all of a sudden? Sudden anxiety in dogs has many reasons, ranging from fear to illness to aging. Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms, causes, and treatments for sudden anxiety in dogs to help get your pet back on track.

    Dog Anxiety Symptoms

    Some symptoms, like yawning or barking, may be normal under some circumstances. But you know your dog best, so be sure to pay attention when you notice any unexpected changes in behavior or appearance. It’s never a bad idea to give your vet a call if you have a concern.

    Dog Anxiety Causes

    If your dog is very anxious suddenly, what do you do? You’ll need to pinpoint the source of the anxiety in order to treat it. Here are a few common causes of dog anxiety symptoms:

    • Fear: Everyone has fears and phobias, and dogs are no different. Sometimes dogs are frightened of new situations and stimuli, like a visit to the groomer or vet. Others may have more ingrained phobias, like loud cars or slick flooring.
    • Separation Anxiety: Affecting around 14% of dogs, this anxiety occurs when your pet is left alone. Dogs may suddenly become destructive or soil the home.
    • Age-Related Anxiety: As dogs grow older, some develop new fears and confusion due to cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).
    • Medical Issues: Underlying medical issues, ranging from pulled muscles to thyroid conditions, can cause sudden anxiety in dogs.
    • Temperature: Seasonal changes may leave your dog too cold and unable to get warm.

    Dog Anxiety Treatment

    We recommend seeing a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues and find a good course of action for your pet. The answer may be as simple as creating a quiet and comfortable space for your dog, or you may need to work on counter-conditioning to build confidence. We also recommend making sure that your dog has plenty of activities to burn off energy and work through stress!

    Keep Your Dog Happy With Rescue Vets

    Whether you want more tips about your furry friends or you’re getting ready to adopt, feel free to contact us at Rescue Vets. We’d be happy to help you find solutions to create a happy, stress-free life with your pet.

    A new survey suggests three-quarters of UK dogs show signs of anxiety and depression. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to help – from lick mats to flirt poles

    A brown Labrador cross breed French mastiff. Photograph: Little Brown Rabbit Photography/Getty Images

    A brown Labrador cross breed French mastiff. Photograph: Little Brown Rabbit Photography/Getty Images

    Name: Depressed dogs.

    Age: Since dogs existed – then multiply that by seven to get it into dog years.

    So this is a story about dogs? Yup.

    What’s up? They’re down.

    It’s the news, I bet: awful stories of dogs being abandoned in Ukraine? No, of course that’s not the reason. This is about dogs showing signs of poor mental health, including anxiety.

    I didn’t even know dogs could suffer from poor mental health. You and a quarter of all dog owners.

    But it must be rare – how many dogs are we talking about? The survey of 1,000 dog owners by the charity Guide Dogs found that 74% of dogs exhibit behaviour that indicates anxiety and depression. That would equate to about 8.8 million dogs across the UK.

    And what are those signs? Loss of appetite, destructiveness, low levels of activity.

    They’re not so different from us are they? Would chocolate help? I find it does, though not for long, to be honest … Nooo! Absolutely not. Chocolate is toxic to them.

    Oh yeah. A brisk walk then? Well, yes, regular exercise is important, of course, but there’s often more to it than that. “It’s an outdated viewpoint to think that dogs just need a walk or two a day to be content,” said Guide Dogs’ chief scientific officer Dr Helen Vaterlaws-Whiteside.

    So what else should you do, then, to keep them happy? Vaterlaws-Whiteside recommends a lot of mental stimulation, problem-solving puzzles …

    Wordle? Labradurdle … More like food-based puzzles. A lick mat say, which has patterned nubs among which you smear spreadable treats. The dog has to work its way around the protuberances to get the treats.

    I’d quite like a lick mat. She also recommends taking them on a “sniffari” walk.

    Ew, what’s one of them? Essentially a walk, but you allow the dog to stop and sniff whatever they want to.

    Like other mutts’ butts? Well, yes. See also fox poo. Other sensory activities are available, like turning on a bubble machine in the garden. Did you know you can get bacon-scented bubble solution especially for dogs? Dr Vaterlaws-Whiteside also suggests using a flirt pole …

    A flirt pole, what the hell is that? Essentially a string attached to a stick, which entices a dog to chase a fast-moving lure. Anyway, don’t forget, as well as lots of mental stimulation, dogs also need plenty of quality downtime and sleep, too.

    Do say: “Come here, good boy, time for shikoku sudoku.”

    Don’t say: “Is it a black dog, though, for dogs?”

    Most anti-stress

    approaches just offer

    short-term solutions.

    There are many ways anxious dogs tell us they need help.

    Your dog’s body language and behavior tell you how he or she is feeling. Understanding these cues –

    and responding to them before they get out-of-hand – starts with knowing what to look for. Only then

    can we be sure of the right calming care for dogs.

    Telltale Signs of Stress & Potential Anxiety in Dogs

      • Nervous Chewing
      • Escape Behaviors
      • Tail Chasing
      • Excessive Pacing
      • Biting Themselves
      • Nervous Licking
      • Whining
      • Tail Tucking
      • Reduced Activity

    Common Triggers

      • Thunder
      • Vacuum Cleaners
      • Vet Visits
      • Road Trips
      • Mail Carriers
      • Plane Rides
      • Canine Encounters

    What to Give a Dog for Anxiety

    Anxious dog behaviors are often NOT categorized as clinical dog anxiety, and prescription medications may not be needed. Ask your veterinarian if you think your dog may have a clinical anxiety issue and need prescription drugs, and if not, a proven non-pharmaceutical solution like Kradle® might be the perfect choice. Veterinarians tend to break clinical anxiety behavior conditions into three categories: fear, age-related, and separation anxiety in dogs.

    Reducing Their Stress Shouldn’t Eliminate Their Personality

    Is your dog suffering from some sort of anxiety? We really can’t say. If your dog has anxiety it is a strictly defined, clinical condition diagnosed by a veterinarian. What to give dogs for anxiety sometimes includes pharmaceutical medications. Unfortunately some of the complications and calming side effects that may come from using pharmaceutical drugs can make a bad situation even worse — for both you and your furry friend.

    The Natural Solution for Your Pet

    Formulated with the purest American-grown CBD and other premium ingredients, Kradle solutions work naturally with the endocannabinoid system to calm your dog from the inside out.

    Bringing home a new dog is one of the most exciting times for a pet parent — there are so many fun experiences to look forward to. Your pup, on the other hand, may experience some anxiety before they’ve fully adjusted to their new digs. Unfortunately, this stress can sometimes lead to nasty tummy problems and other behavioral issues.

    If your new dog suffers from stress and gastrointestinal (GI) issues, don’t worry — a dog’s anxiety, and even diarrhea, is very common.

    Why Is My New Dog Anxious?

    You may be surprised that your new furry friend is anxious. After all, you’ve been preparing for his arrival for weeks, and he has all of the love and toys he could want. But dog anxiety is a common issue, especially when confronting the unknown (in this case, you, your home and/or your family).

    Your new pup may also be shy and, depending on his background history and temperament, a little nervous. In addition to the environmental changes, explains Pet Hub, anxiety can be caused by overstimulation (too much play and too little rest), fear-based stimuli (new spaces, other dogs, fireworks, thunderstorms), generalized anxiety and illness. Be sure to give your new dog ample exploration time and establish strict boundaries, especially if you have a young pup that’s full of energy.

    Unfortunately, a dog’s anxiety is often mistaken for behavioral issues, which is the number one reason why dogs are returned to the shelter. Understanding this, and preparing yourself will help the relationship get off to a better start and hopefully last in many years of happiness for both of you.

    A Note on Separation Anxiety

    Dogs become attached quite quickly to their humans and may suffer from separation anxiety, especially in their early days living with you. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals (ASPCA), one of the most common issues faced by new pet parents is that their newly adopted dog exhibits destructive behavior.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogsIf your dog eats your shoes or shreds your couch cushions, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have bad manners, says the ASPCA. In many cases, your fur baby is demonstrating separation anxiety. Other signs your dog might be dealing with separation anxiety include:

    • They become agitated when you prepare to leave.
    • They seem anxious or depressed when you’re preparing to leave or when you aren’t there.
    • They try to prevent you from leaving.

    To stop your new pup from destroying your rug, don’t let him roam free when you leave them home alone, and avoid being gone for long stretches of time. It’s best if someone can be home with them for the week after you bring them home.

    Dog Anxiety and Dog Diarrhea

    Much like their humans, dogs experience digestive issues as a result of stress. But why? “Stressful situations cause a release of norepinephrine — the ‘fight or flight’ hormone,” explains Deb Eldredge, DVM, for Fear Free Happy Homes. A dog’s response to this hormone can vary but often includes diarrhea. Dr. Eldredge emphasizes that pet parents “need to understand that stress diarrhea is not a conscious reaction by your pet.” The GI tract in a dog’s body is responding naturally to the stimuli of stress and anxiety.

    Dog diarrhea falls into two categories, says the Pet Health Network — small bowel or large bowel. Small bowel diarrhea usually appears in large volumes or is watery, and often leads to dehydration. Large bowel diarrhea tends to appear as small amounts of soft stool, and may be bloody or contain mucus.

    Pay close attention to your dog’s excrement so that you can give your veterinarian as much detail as possible, which will help them create a treatment plan.

    Dog Anxiety and Diet

    One way you can help prevent GI issues in your new dog is by continuing to feed them the food they were eating at the shelter for the first few days. Switching the brand of food can cause additional digestive problems. However, it can sometimes be helpful to feed your dog a GI-formulated food until diarrhea stops. Just make sure to speak with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s food.

    Since diarrhea often causes dehydration, also make sure to keep your doggy’s water bowl full and encourage them to drink often.

    Other Signs of Dog Anxiety

    In addition to diarrhea, here are common signs of dog anxiety, provided by the American Kennel Club:

    • Aggression
    • Urinating or defecating in the house
    • Drooling
    • Panting
    • Depression
    • Excessive barking
    • Pacing and other repetitive or compulsive behaviors
    • Restlessness

    Monitor your dog to see if they exhibit any of these and/or other unusual behaviors. If they do, contact your vet to determine if there are any underlying medical conditions other than anxiety.

    How to Help Your Dog De-Stress

    In order to alleviate your dog’s anxiety, it’s important to identify what’s causing it. Dogs are How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogsvery social creatures and love to spend time with their people. If you’re frequently away from home, consider hiring a dog walker or sitter, or bring your pup to a doggy day care. They’ll be delighted to hang out with other dogs and humans — after all before you adopted them they were likely getting plenty of social interactions at the shelter or breeder.

    Before attempting to treat your dog’s anxiety with over-the-counter or home remedies, speak with your vet. Not all medications are safe for all dogs, and some may even cause stomach issues. Self-diagnosing your dog can often cause more issues than you started with.

    Be sure to contact your vet if your dog displays any signs of anxiety. They’ll be able to tell you if they’re just stressed or if they’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, and will develop the best treatment plan for your pup.

    New living situations require time to adjust, so don’t be alarmed if your new doggy is stressed at first. Once they’re familiar with you and the new space, they’ll know there’s no place like home!

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    By Kristen Levine

    Reading Time: 3 minutes

    It’s hard for me to believe that my dog, Chilly, is already 10 years old. It’s easy to think he’s as young on the inside as he looks on the outside. I just thought it was old age, which I am sure many pet owners like you have thought. However, a few recent changes in his behavior led me to ask my veterinarian about the possibility of osteoarthritis (OA).

    What Is Canine Osteoarthritis?

    Osteoarthritis, the progressive and permanent long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints, is a common condition in both people and pets. 1 In fact, approximately 25 percent of dogs over the age of eight develop OA, according to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. 2,3 Unfortunately, more often than not, the first signs of OA in dogs are chalked up to old age and go untreated. 4

    When to See Your Veterinarian About Osteoarthritis

    Think about your dog’s behavior in the past week. If you’ve noticed your dog lagging behind on walks, limping after exercise, or having difficulty jumping, your dog may be suffering from OA. Pain can lead to fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS). 5 This canine OA checklist is a valuable resource in helping identify whether your dog may be experiencing OA-related pain and should be seen by your veterinarian.

    However, there is good news. Even if your dog is diagnosed with OA, his pain can be managed by working closely with your veterinarian. Similarly, you can work with your veterinarian long before an OA diagnosis to help slow the progression of the disease and ease your dog’s pain.

    That’s what I’m doing and here’s how.

    When I recently took Chilly to see our veterinarian for an OA screening, Dr. Cole at St. Francis Pet Care Center conducted an orthopedic exam, checking Chilly’s hips, knees, and back. Thankfully, Dr. Cole found no obvious signs of arthritis. Just to be sure, though, he recommended we schedule Chilly for a series of x-rays that will help further determine whether there’s any degeneration in Chilly’s joints.

    I also wanted to be proactive about Chilly’s joint health, so I asked what I, or anyone, could do to help slow the progression of canine OA. Dr. Cole recommended three important steps.

    How to Slow the Progression of Canine Osteoarthritis

    • Weight Control
      The first and most important step in delaying canine OA is weight control. Obesity is a risk factor for canine OA, since it increases stress on joints, so I make sure Chilly sticks to a healthy diet.
    • Muscle Strengthening with Exercise
      Exercise, the second step, reduces the risk of extra weight while providing added support for the joints, even when there’s already deterioration. Chilly’s fit and active lifestyle keeps his muscles strong and able to support his joints. Additionally, helping Chilly get his daily exercise strengthens my bond with him, and keeps us both healthy and happy.
    • Medications
      Finally, joint supplements and/or pain medications like Rimadyl ® (carprofen), prescribed by your veterinarian, can be an effective treatment for dogs with arthritis. 6 Supplements and medications can help reduce inflammation in the joints, slowing cartilage degeneration and increasing the quality of life for a dog with arthritis. After all, without pain control, it’s difficult for a dog to enjoy the exercise that will keep him healthy and strong.

    By following these three steps, I’m confident that I can help Chilly enjoy many more comfortable and happy years with my family.

    Pet parents are the best advocates for their pets, so don’t wait to find out if your dog is suffering. Be sure to fill out this OA checklist today.

    IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: As a class, NSAIDs may be associated with gastrointestinal, kidney and liver side effects. These are usually mild, but may be serious. Pet owners should discontinue therapy and contact their veterinarian immediately if side effects occur. Evaluation for pre-existing conditions and regular monitoring are recommended for pets on any medication, including RIMADYL. Use with other NSAIDs or corticosteroids should be avoided. See full Prescribing Information

    References

      1. “Degenerative Joint Disease in Dogs.” PetMD. Accessed March 27, 2020. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/musculoskeletal/c_multi_arthritis_osteoarthritis?page=1.
      2. Mele, Esteban. “Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis (OA).” Veterinary Focus 17, no. 03 (January 2007): 4–10. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.620.7222&rep=rep1&type=pdf.
      3. “Small Animal Topics.” ACVS. Accessed March 27, 2020. https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/osteoarthritis-in-dogs.
      4. “Does Your Dog Limp or Tire Easily?” Zoetis Petcare. Accessed March 27, 2020. https://www.zoetispetcare.com/checklist/osteoarthritis-checklist.
      5. Lindley, Samantha. “The Effects Of Pain On Behaviour And Behavioural Problems Part 2: Fear And Anxiety”. Companion Animal, vol 17, no. 1, 2012, pp. 55-58.
      6. “RIMADYL.” Zoetis Petcare. Accessed March 27, 2020. https://www.zoetispetcare.com/products/rimadyl.

    This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.

    This article is brought to you in collaboration with our friends at Zoetis Petcare. RIM-00291

    Dogs can experience varying degrees of anxiety in much the same way as humans do. As we know, manageable amounts of anxiety that we experience in context to the circumstances can be a perfectly healthy , normal emotion to have.

    Sometimes, however, anxiety can become a debilitating disorder, and disproportionate levels of anxiety can be suffered that require treatment. Anxiety can be experienced by any and all canine breeds, although each dog is individual in the way that it may affect their behaviors. When anxiety in dogs goes untreated, the risks of associated behavioral and other issues increase significantly, so it’s important to know what to look out for and what course of action to take.

    How to recognize signs of anxiety in dogs

    There are a number of reasons for anxiety in dogs, but they typically fall into one of three main categories. These are:

    Separation anxiety

    This type of anxiety stems from a dog’s discomfort with being left alone, or separated from their familiar family/household members. It can be difficult for dogs with separation anxiety to soothe themselves, and instead, problematic behaviors often ensue. These can range from incessant barking and whining, to destroying furniture and urinating or even defecating in the house when left alone, particularly for longer periods of time.

    Fear-related anxiety

    Some dogs respond fearfully to certain stimuli, such as sudden loud noises from chainsaws or fireworks , other animals or unfamiliar people, new or unusual environments, or unfamiliar items, like umbrellas. For some dogs, car rides are particularly uncomfortable, and the veterinary clinic can understandably cause a rise in anxiety.

    Many dogs have some level of reaction to such stimuli, but in particularly anxious dogs, the reactions can be more substantial and longer lasting.

    Age-related anxiety

    When dogs age, they can experience cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), which can, in turn, create feelings of anxiety. CDS can affect their perception, memory and general circumstantial and environmental awareness, and is often comparable to the onset of Alzheimer’s in humans. Not surprisingly, this condition can lead to feelings of confusion and resulting anxiety for older dogs.

    What are the signs of anxiety in dogs?

    Some of the most common signs and symptoms to look out for include:

    • Panting
    • Drooling
    • Pacing
    • Restlessness
    • Incessant barking
    • Destructive behavior
    • Aggression
    • Urinating or defecating in inappropriate places
    • Compulsive (repetitive behaviors)
    • Depression, low energy and flat mood

    Sometimes, dogs exhibit these anxiety symptoms only occasionally, and if the triggering stimuli is uncommon to encounter and the reaction is manageable, then no action is necessarily required.

    Aggressive reactions require attention for obvious reasons, as they can lead to harm being caused to other animals or humans and must be addressed.

    Destructive behaviors are common with separation anxiety, in particular, as well as inappropriate urination and defecation in the house while left alone. Even dogs that are well house-trained can become so anxious that they cannot control their bodily functions. Destructive behaviors are often focused around exit points such as doors and windows, as the anxious dog attempts to escape the confines and seek to reunite with their pack.

    How is anxiety in dogs treated?

    The first step in assessing how best to treat and manage your dog’s anxiety is to consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to help in identifying the nature of your dog’s anxiety, as well as the particular triggers that worsen it. A vet can also assess whether the anxiety is purely situational, or if it has become a significant underlying condition that affects your dog in a more general sense. It is also important to assess whether their diet or current medications could be contributing to the issue.

    From there, you can formulate a treatment plan. It is common for this to take the form of a multi-layered approach, such as a combination of prevention, training, and possibly medications. Looking at their diet and considering whether supplementation could help is an important factor, too.

    Counterconditioning and training

    Counterconditioning seeks to alter the dog’s response to the anxiety-evoking stimuli, and often involves simultaneously introducing pattern-interrupting stimuli when exposed to the triggering one. When sufficiently repeated, this can condition the dog to adopt a more favorable response.

    Another common training strategy used is desensitization. In this case, the dog is gradually introduced to the trigger while positively reinforcing any calm reactions. The dog is exposed to the anxiety trigger in small, manageable amounts that gradually increase in intensity to desensitize them. It may be necessary to consult with a professional dog trainer when attempting to carry out these approaches, as anxious dogs can be difficult to work with.

    Medications for anxious dogs

    If your dog’s anxiety disorder is severe enough, a vet may determine that it is necessary to treat it with medication, such as an SSRI or other antidepressant. They may also prescribe a benzodiazepine to use for occasional events that heighten their anxiety further, such as during thunderstorms.

    For senior dogs suffering with CDS, it may be beneficial to treat them with a medication called selegiline, which helps to reduce some of the CDS symptoms and can therefore inadvertently treat their anxiety.

    Some dog owners report that using CBD oil helps in treating their pet’s anxiety, although no scientific data currently exists to clarify these claims. You can discuss this option with your vet.

    Final thoughts

    Aside from recognizing and treating your dog’s anxiety as outlined above, there are some other preventative measures you can take to assist them further. Learning how to read their body language to address the onset of anxiety sooner can be helpful, as well as ensuring that their diet is optimal and that they are well socialized. Busy lives can make it difficult to limit their time alone, but where possible try to keep it to a minimum.

    Any one of the behavioural signs on the next 5 pages can indicate that your dog is anxious or fearful. However, some of these signs could occur in other situations (e.g. dogs often lick their lips when given a treat, but lip-licking is also shown when a dog feels uncertain, anxious or fearful). So, in order to recognise the difference between when your dog uses the behavioural signs when anxious, fearful or for another reason, keep these points in mind:

    • It is likely that your dog is anxious or fearful if you notice combinations of the anxiety and/or fear behavioural signs, such as licking lips, with ears back, and a tense facial expression. But combinations of signs can vary between dogs and even within the same dog. Also, due to physical differences it can be harder to notice behavioural signs in some dogs. Therefore you may only notice one of the behavioural signs, and this can still be important.
    • If you see an increase in frequency of any of the behavioural signs (e.g. repeated lip licking), or an increase in bouts of the behavioural signs, it is likely that your dog is experiencing anxiety or fear.
    • If your dog shows the behavioural signs in specific contexts, and not in others, it is likely that your dog is experiencing fear or anxiety in those specific contexts.
    • If your dog pants, salivates, yawns, or licks his lips for no apparent physical reason (such as heat, exercise, tiredness, presence of food), it is likely that he is anxious or fearful.
    • Some of these behaviours are often interpreted to mean other motivations. However, research and clinical experience shows that they can all be signs of fear and anxiety, especially when multiple signs are shown at once.

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