Dogs are wonderful creatures, aren’t they? Like humans they love to play outdoors, form companionship and so but unfortunately they share a despairing trait with humans too – anxiety. This may break your heart to learn that dogs also suffer from depression, stress, and anxiety which turn out to act foul for dogs. Nervousness in dogs is profound by their behavior and eating habits. From playing and woofing all the time to being lazy (almost lifeless like) and not eating at all, understanding something is amiss.
If dog anxiety goes unchecked for long it can create anxiety disorders that lead to other behavioral issues otherwise.
Causes and Reasons for Sudden Dog Anxiety
Anxiety is an unpleasant emotion. Dog anxiety can be seen in all breeds, similar to some viruses and bacteria some dog breeds tend to be more sensitive in nature then the others. As a dog owner, at this time you wish only if your dog could just talk in human language but alas! You need to find out the causes and reasons behind the dog’s nervousness and lack of enthusiasm towards life or anything healthy on your own.
Still, there are some telltale signs you need to keep an eye out for. There are three stages of most common causes of anxiety in dogs;
1. Fear Anxiety
Did you know: Some dogs fear clowns?
Not all dog breeds are prone to it, which is a good thing. But some have caught an early fright of loud noises, unfamiliar faces/people around them, certain objects like umbrellas or hats, change of environment and other certain conditions.
If the anxiety is caused by stimuli, any third object, then the effects are more prominent.
2. Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs separated from their owners or families are unable to find comfort in unfamiliar territory. This causes separation anxiety. War dogs even have shown various signs of separation anxiety. It can manifest easily due to a traumatic series of events resulting in undesirable behaviors like urinating, or disruptive behaviors, damaging the furniture, and non-stop barking.
It can continue and get worse over time if left untreated.
3. Age Anxiety for Dogs
It’s not that dogs care how old they are but with age, their eating habits, behavioral patterns, and activities start to change. Imagine if your dog is on the senior age borderline he might develop arthritis which is a terrible way to suffer. The more senior a dog is the more he can be associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).
This highly affects the memory, learning, perception, alertness, and awareness in dogs. All of these skills and attributes start to decline. In humans, this stage develops in the case of Alzheimer’s.
Critical Signs of Stress in a Dog you should not Ignore!
The three stages of anxiety in dogs are pretty much prominent. This means that you must pay attention to your dog as he is your responsibility. The following of the telltale signs of stress in dogs.
The most dangerous sign a dog shows is to become aggressive. It’s a serious concern because an aggressive dog can turn on its owner hence the term “rabid dog” may justify it in the worst case scenario. It can start with growling to barking and then biting. Pay close attention to why he is being aggressive.
It could be stimuli-induced aggression or maybe you are abusing the breed yourself and don’t realize it and so on. So first of all back-off. Let the dog breathe. If you are still unable to identify the reasons then call in for professional help.
A common sign of anxiety in dogs is related to urinating and defecating in the house. Sometimes a dog can be as keyed up as peeing or pooping around the house. It does not only damage the property but also can lead to dire problems for dogs.
It could happen even due to a medical reason too like cognitive dysfunction. Thus, the problem can be eliminated by talking to your vet. Use the right medication to help your dog relax. Also, keep monitoring your dog’s routine.
3. Destructive Behavior
The damage, in this condition, is restricted to entry and exit points of the house like doors and windows. Maybe your dog is not fond of crate training or cages due to trauma in the past. It’s not surprising, even dogs can suffer from PTSD.
It can result in painful injuries if the breaking and tearing are too much. A spooked dog is no good to anyone so give them some space.
4. Aggressive Chewing
One day you give bone broth to your dog only to see later that he is aggressively chewing on the bone. If you continue to see the chewing pattern aggressively not only related to food but also other objects that you have a problem at hand.
It means your dog is nervous. You can control this by giving him a chew toy to control erratic behavior.
The restlessness of your dog is out of the ordinary if they keep pacing. Of course, it can mean your dog is just bored but an anxious dog’s pacing is different from a regular one. The nervous pacing has a pattern. For instance, your dog may move around in circles only or walks in straight lines.
To help your dog overcome nervousness, you can take him on long walks and spend more time outdoors.
6. Tail Thumping
We believe that if our dog is wagging his tail it’s out of happiness. You cannot imagine how wrong you are. It is also a sign of submission. A dog having anxiety also does tail thumping. They may seem sheepish or behavior loudly speaks they are unhappy.
It’s best to help your dog relax, engage him in physical activities like exercises for health sake.
7. Escaping Behavior
If your dog has a habit of running away, then know one thing: it’s not a habit.
It’s a form of anxiety and a dangerous one at that. It’s best to place a second barrier around the doors just like a baby gate. However, dog fencing is effective to some extent only. This behavior can be due to possible reasons, bullying one of them or that the dog is unable to adjust to the new environment. Hence, the reason behind escaping is anxiety.
Does your look spook without any reason? Some signs are easier to read than others but shaking and trembling is a moderate sign of anxiety. From personal experience, one can say that the closer bond you have with your dog the more prominent the signs of shaking will be.
Change in diet plans or lifestyle or moving to a new place can be the very reasons for this behavior.
Ways to Calm an Anxious Dog
Despite the dark times your dog may be going through, there are ways to lower the dog anxiety in dogs in careful steps like;
Call in for Professional Help
This is the right time to talk with your veterinarian. Once you identify the signs and causes behind it you need to come up with the proper medication. Even a rigorous change in diet plan can help improve nervousness in dogs.
Professional Training by Groomers
A happy dog is one that is physically fit. A healthy routine is followed not only by a diet plan but good exercise too. Besides teaching your dog training demands, like sit, stop, etc, can help improve the restlessness. Focus on the counter-conditioning in an optimistic way.
One of the strategies should be to introduce new things or people to your dog slowly, preferably in small doses. If things change too fast can cause anxiety easily otherwise.
Give Dog Treats
Reward treatment is the best therapy solution to reduce stress or anxiety. This will motivate your dog to behave well.
CBD Oil Use
Some dog owners have used CBD oil to treat anxiety in dogs. It’s a compound that helps to treat various health conditions in humans as well as dogs. If your vet prescribes using it then do discuss the details.
Learn the common symptoms of dog anxiety furthermore help your dog to socialize more, focus on their obedience training, and trust your instincts about your dog. The journey is not so tough if you love your dog.