!Let's Talk! Button

Call us Today!
Let’s Talk! 281-256-3150

Dogs and Anxiety

May 1, 2024

Dogs, like humans, have a wide range of emotions. Fido may experience fear, depression, loneliness, and grief. He can also feel anxious. Anxiety can have a significant impact on him, both emotionally and physically. Gain valuable insights on doggy anxiety from a local vet in this informative article from Fairfield Animal Hospital, your Cypress, TX pet hospital.

What Are Some Of The Main Things That Make Dogs Anxious?

Our canine companions can experience anxiety from a variety of different issues or situations. Several factors, such as Fido’s temperament, history, living situation, and breed, can come into play here. 

These are some of the important ones:

Separation Anxiety: Separation anxiety is a common one. In fact, it’s the most common type of doggy anxiety. Fido is naturally wired to thrive as a member of a pack. After all, dogs in the wild typically stick together with their companions. Leaving your pet alone can cause him to feel uneasy, lonely, and depressed. Our furry friends don’t have the ability to communicate their problems through words, so they often express their inner turmoil through mischief. If you often come home to find that your pooch has created a mess in your absence, Fido may be suffering from separation anxiety.

It’s worth noting that separation anxiety can affect any pup. However, it is quite prevalent in rescue dogs, possibly because so many were abandoned by their owners. This is also a common issue with dogs that have been rehomed.

Lack of Proper Socialization: Dogs that were not adequately socialized are significantly more prone to displaying anxious or aggressive behavior as adults. Our canine pals must be properly socialized during their puppyhoods. It’s crucial for little Fido to experience various environments and interact with different individuals during those early stages of doggy development. These experiences will help him become receptive and optimistic towards the world. 

Big Changes: Dogs, just like humans, tend to thrive when they are in a comfortable and secure environment. Being placed in a new environment or situation can be very scary, intimidating, and unsettling for Fido. Some significant changes that can cause a great deal of stress for our furry friends include moving, getting a new roommate (human or furry), getting a new owner, and adapting to a different routine, among other things. Even meeting new people and other pets can be quite stressful for our furry friends!

Phobias: Did you know that Fido can develop phobias? Many of our canine pals experience anxiety during thunderstorms. Pups often are scared of loud sounds, like fireworks. Another instance of this would be a pooch that has been confined to a kennel too often developing a strong fear of crates.

Health Problems: Pets can experience many of the same or similar health conditions and injuries as humans. Anything that impacts Fido’s senses, mobility, or nervous system can trigger anxiety. Canine dementia, for example, can occasionally cause anxiety in older dogs.

How Can I Identify Signs Of Canine Anxiety?

Fido is unable to express his emotions verbally, so he can’t tell you how he feels. It’s important to remain vigilant for any indications of potential issues. These can vary slightly, depending on Fido’s stress levels and the cause of his distress. For example, if your pet is scared of something, like a loud noise, he might tremble, tuck his tail, seek shelter, or attempt to escape the situation. (One reason why lost pet reports tend to increase during the Fourth of July is that many dogs become extremely frightened by the loud noises and chaos caused by fireworks, and run away out of terror.) When left alone, dogs with separation anxiety may exhibit destructive behaviors like digging and chewing. Occasionally, anxiety can lead to dogs displaying aggressive behavior.

Here are some other signs:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fear Urination
  • Hot Spots/Lesions From Licking Or Biting
  • Tail-Chasing
  • Trembling
  • Tail-Tucking
  • Hiding
  • Reduced Activity
  • Escape Attempts
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Licking
  • Tail Chasing
  • Yowling/Barking when left alone
  • Destructive Behaviors (getting into the trash, digging, destroying furniture)
  • Restlessness
  • Licking the lips
  • Showing the whites of the eyes (whale eye)
  • Cowering
  • Digging
  • Not eating
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Soiling inappropriately

If you believe that your furry companion may be experiencing anxiety, and/or have observed any warning signs in your dog, contact your Cypress, TX animal clinic as soon as possible.

Is It More Common For Some Types Of Dogs To Get Anxious Than Others?

Although anxiety can affect dogs of any breed, it tends to be more common in certain breeds. Here are the adorable pups on the roster:

  • Cocker Spaniel
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Vizsla
  • Chihuahua
  • Basset Hound
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Dachshund
  • Greyhound Miniature Schnauzer
  • The Shetland Sheepdog
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Border Collie
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Bichon Frise
  • Toy Poodle
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Yorkshire Terrier

As stated earlier, dogs that have experienced abuse, neglect, or have been rehomed are particularly vulnerable, as well as those with specific medical conditions like dementia. Consult your Cypress, TX veterinarian for further details.

How Can I Help My Anxious Dog?

Anxiety can’t always be cured, but it can be managed and greatly reduced. Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to help your canine pal cope.

Contacting your veterinarian should be your first step. If an undiagnosed medical issue is to blame, it is crucial to get it diagnosed promptly. Medication may be the most suitable option in certain situations. It is important to always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pooch any type of medication. Some puppies may need behavioral training.

Home care will also factor in. Making sure that your furry friend gets adequate exercise and mental stimulation is crucial. Taking Fido for a walk and engaging in playtime will help him release his pent-up energy in a beneficial manner. If your canine buddy stays home alone while you’re at work, tire him out before you leave with a fun doggy workout before you leave. Hopefully, your pup will be ready for a nap after, and will sleep through a chunk of his alone time. (This is also great for building a strong connection with your pet.) Maintaining a consistent routine for your pet’s walks and playtime can also contribute to a sense of stability and comfort.

Additionally, there are products available that can provide a soothing effect. These options include things like soothing shirts, appropriate chews, cozy beds, and toys. Consult your veterinarian for suggestions.

If your furry companion struggles with separation anxiety, it might be worth considering the addition of a new companion. That would definitely depend on how your four-legged friend gets along with other dogs. It’s important to approach this decision with careful consideration. Adoption is permanent, and is not something to take lightly. Think about your household, budget, and schedule. Even if all lights are green, ensuring a compatible match is essential: if Fido is unhappy with his new roommate, it could make him feel even worse.

It’s important to also be aware of a few things to avoid. It is important to avoid punishing your dog when they are feeling uneasy or anxious. Fido lacks comprehension of punishment; he merely seeks to communicate and safeguard himself using his instinctual methods. Reprimanding him might exacerbate the situation and potentially instill fear in him. It would be most effective to prioritize positive reinforcement. Consult with your Cypress, TX veterinarian for personalized guidance.

Make An Appointment To Visit Our Cypress, TX Pet Clinic

Do you need any assistance regarding your dog’s health or care? Feel free to reach out to us at Fairfield Animal Hospital, your Cypress, TX pet hospital, anytime!

[am_post_grid posts_per_page=”9″ paginate=”yes”]