First published in Sit & Stay
Image credit: Pixaby
Nearly everyone can understand what a huge impact anxiety can have on a dog’s life. After all, when your pooch is anxious, you’ll become anxious too! It also can result in numerous destructive behaviors. The good news is that there are so many ways to help your dog feel less anxious!
With anxiety treatments ranging from Prozac, essential oils, melatonin, and classical music to CBD oil, it’s no wonder that we may get confused at times as to the best options available. But it’s a no-brainer!
With some dogs having full-blown panic attacks, and others pacing and whining, it’s best that we discuss the many symptoms of canine anxiety, as well as the numerous causes.
What is Dog Anxiety?
Anxiety in dogs is the anticipation of danger that is accompanied by tension. Dogs that are anxious will pace, have tense muscles, be extra vigilant, and will have increased movement. Numerous health problems in dogs stem from behavioral problems. That said, it’s important that pet parents understand why their dogs are anxious and take the necessary steps to ease canine anxiety.
Different Types of Anxiety
Storm phobia may result in dogs panting, pacing, hiding, and having a full-blown panic attack. They may eliminate inside the home and show signs of aggression. Sound sensitivity is more common in breeds like the German Shepherd, Border Collie, and Lab. According to Dr. Monique Udell, Oregon State University, “exposure to sounds early in life, especially those a dog is likely to encounter as an adult, is an important part of socialization,” via Claudia Bensimoun, Animal Wellness.
Veterinarian Dr. Kathryn Lord suggests desensitization to new sounds from a very young age and discusses how early experiences throughout puppyhood contribute to sound sensitivity.
“Dogs’ ears open around three weeks of age,” she says. “At that point they have little or no fear of novelty. So this is a good time to start introducing them to sounds. Sounds they hear at this point, up through eight weeks, will not be frightening later. Fear increases as they approach eight weeks, so caution should be taken the closer they get to this age. It is best to introduce novel sounds when pups are in a comfortable and familiar place. Many sound phobias start from bad experiences with novel sounds. If dogs are familiar with a variety of sounds, they are less likely to develop phobias down the road,” via Claudia Bensimoun, Animal Wellness.
What Causes Stress in Dogs?
With so many environmental factors coming into play, there are numerous things that can make your dog fearful. It’s important that dog parents be observant and watch their dogs closely in certain situations.
“Dogs have an increase in stress hormones when life is uncertain,” says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, adding that the following situations are among the most stressful for dogs:
- Going to the veterinarian
- Being left alone at home
- Loss of a canine companion
- Separation from the family
- Introduction of a new animal
- Moving house
- Children returning to school on Monday or after holidays
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Woofs & Wags!