As pet parents, we want nothing more than for our canine companion to be healthy and joyful - but unfortunately, too many dogs experience some sort of anxiety; according to a major 2020 study of over 13,000 dogs from 264 breeds that involved more than 70%.
If your pet has experienced trauma in the past, certain events, noises, or unfamiliar situations could prompt their body to respond by creating stress responses. Certain breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Jack Russell Terriers tend to show signs of anxiety when separated from their human. And some of our furry companions become scared during stormy or firework displays - leading them to run underneath beds shaking with terror!
Unfortunately, our pets don't always know when they're feeling stressed out - so it's our job to learn to recognize their behaviors so we can provide the reassurance and comfort they require to cope with life's obstacles. In this article we're providing all the knowledge you need about canine anxiety to enable you to understand common triggers, identify signs before they worsen and provide safe natural treatments. So if your beloved friend ever becomes anxious, you'll have everything necessary as their caring guardian to assist.
Why Is My Dog Showing Signs Of Anxiety?
Anxiousness may develop for many different reasons in dogs; among these include separation from family and fear. Separation anxiety affects an estimated 15-20 percent of dogs - that's roughly one out of six! Our busy lifestyles and lack of places where our pet will be welcome make it inevitable that at times, they'll be home alone. Separation anxiety can be distressful for our four-legged companions. To express their discomfort, they often exhibit undesirable behaviors like marking inside the house, demolishing furnishings or barking nonstop.
Fear-related anxiety affects 20-25% of dogs, typically caused by sudden loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, new environments (particularly vet offices), specific situations ( such as visiting them for appointments), car rides or any unexpected encounters.
Anxiety associated with old age may affect senior dogs and is an early indicator of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), similar to Alzheimer's in humans. As our beloved seniors become less capable of understanding what's going on around them, their anxiety increases accordingly.
How Can I Determine If My Pet Has Anxiety?
Keep a keen eye out for any behavioral changes in your pet, such as excessive barking/whining/gastric upsets/trembling; indoor peeing and pooping; dribbling urine; compulsive chewing or destructive behavior, restlessness and inability to settle down; frequent yawning/panting/drooling, sudden aggression - such as growling or snarling when approached, or attacking other dogs.
As these behaviors can be both unnerving and distressing for both of you, let's explore practical methods for handling them and making life happier for both of you. If your normally submissive and quiet furry pal is suddenly barking for no apparent reason or whining incessantly, they could be trying to tell you they're feeling anxious.
Loud noises such as thunderclaps or fireworks may also prompt barking sessions from your pet, or cause them to hide and tremble in fear. When this occurs, try to reassure and calm them; once they have calmed down completely, give a reward such as CBD-infused pet treats in advance to help keep their nerves calm.
“I give Bella CBD because she tends to become anxious due to her breed. Bella enjoys when we are all together; otherwise she runs around aimlessly and becomes extremely restless!”
If their barking starts when left alone, try leaving them with an assortment of their favorite toys to keep them occupied and when you are together enjoy watching Dog TV on YouTube with relaxing music and visuals that capture their interest. Helping your pet avoid separation anxiety begins with early training. Leave them alone for short amounts of time until they are comfortable being alone again. Start out small, and increase the time gradually. Avoid drama (even affection displays) when leaving or returning so your pet understands that occasional absences won't be a major event.
Your pup may experience an upset tummy due to an allergy, dietary change or possibly due to ingredients present in highly-processed food products. However, if you notice changes in your pet's stools it's important to remember that stress may be contributing factors for IBS/IBD in dogs. Consider what has changed recently that may have an impact on his or her life and act accordingly.
Attain the causes of anxiety by providing high-quality bio-appropriate food and taking steps such as trying a natural anti-anxiety supplement like this tasty bacon-flavored CBD tincture if necessary. If the problem doesn't go away on its own, visiting your vet might help both of you relax more easily.
Shaking or Trembling
ChowChows and Maltese Terriers are genetically predisposed to shaking when cold; there's no cause for alarm here. Other, shorter-haired breeds may become uncomfortable when their fur gets wet - one way around this problem could be providing your furry pal with an outfit to keep warm in their own bed!
However, if your furry companion begins acting this way for seemingly no apparent reason, you must investigate further. Does the issue start in response to sudden noises or unexpected events? If that's the case, provide plenty of reassurance while gradually increasing exposure until your pet no longer reacts negatively - rewarding their calm responses with treats or cuddles will likely do the trick! Consider opting for natural solutions such as aromatherapy drops for canines or organic CBD treats to provide extra care. However, if the trembling is extreme or located in one part of their body (particularly the head), visit a vet immediately in order to rule out any physical causes for it.
Peeing or Popping Inside the House
When your normally well-behaved dog begins leaving unwanted presents in your home for you, something must have changed within their world that has caused this shift in behaviour.
Are you leaving them alone for too long without the ability to relieve themselves in the way they want to? Think about it – how long can you last without a visit to the bathroom? Are you expecting your pup to control themselves for hours while you're away? Especially if they're babies or seniors, they may just not be able to hold their pee in.
Or perhaps they 'go' as soon as you leave home – to signal their distress?
Patience is key. Take them outside for even just a short time every time before and after leaving home - to establish a habit that makes them feel at home. Do this regularly so they become used to it, becoming less anxious. If you must leave your pup alone for long stretches of time, consider hiring a pet-sitter to exercise them and provide necessary bathroom breaks.
Once home, and you find a foul mess awaiting you, never try to discipline or punish your pooch for having an "accident." They won't understand why you're angry and it can only make them more nervous; take a deep breath and clean, disinfect, and deodorize to stop the dog from creating indoor pee-places again! If the behavior persists and you cannot figure out why - speak to your veterinarian, a dog trainer, or a qualified animal behaviorist for assistance.
Your pup becomes anxious when their sympathetic nervous system releases adrenaline and they enter a "fight/flight/freeze/fawn" state. At times, their bladder relaxes and they release urine while walking or moving around; you'll often see this with puppies. Punishment or scolding should never be seen as appropriate responses as their poor pooch has no control.
Once your pet has become anxious, find its source and eliminate or gradually desensitize them to it. Do not try distracting them with treats when they become nervous - doing so only reinforces that being nervous brings rewards! Instead, once they have completely calmed down it is time for either a treat or cuddle as a thank-you gift from you - they deserve both!
Dogs tend to chew for both psychological and physical relief when left alone, especially if bored and anxious. There are two effective solutions available to them for dealing with this behavior. First and foremost, leave them plenty of safe chew toys to occupy their time while you're gone. Your canine may be an avid chewer. In such a case, the second solution is taking proactive measures against their attacks is key if they're also thieves! Store shoes and valuable items out of harm's way: this includes clothing, shoes, pens, eyeglasses, iPhones, children's toys as well as documents you don't want shredding!
If your normally chilled-out pup suddenly becomes restless and pacing back and forth, they could be trying to relieve anxiety by constantly pacing and circling around you. At first, it may help to increase daily exercise as a means of dispelling nervous energy. You might increase distance, walks per day or pick up pace by running more; your pet will appreciate all this extra activity and may just need an extra chance to connect with you - maybe that will do it?
If you have access to appropriate outdoor areas, chasing, tracking and jumping games can provide both mental stimulation and physical release.Many pet parents find that CBD-infused pet treats and tinctures can also provide valuable assistance, especially if restlessness remains even after intense play sessions have taken place. As with any health issue, if your pup seems distressed or is showing signs of pain it is wise to visit a veterinarian immediately.
Your pup may look adorable when turning their head to one side simultaneously, but this doesn't necessarily indicate they're sleepy - in fact, frequent instances could signal anxiety instead. Note the source of distress or provide comfort until they adjust and their anxiety decreases.
Though some breeds naturally drool more than others, parents find the additional slobber an enjoyable part of raising a pup. If your pooch does not naturally drool or slobber much then this should be taken note of and treated as something concerning.
Even though drooling may require medical intervention - dental issues, possible poisoning or heat stroke being just three examples - there may also be psychological causes such as excitement, anxiety or fear that could contribute to this behavior. Visit your vet to rule out physical issues and receive advice regarding what may be triggering this behavior, so your furry best pal can regain his or her confidence and live their best life, free from anxiety.
When normally peaceful pets display signs of aggression, such as growling or snarling when approached by humans or attacking other dogs, it can have serious repercussions for the pet, guardian and anyone who inadvertently triggers them.
If you can't identify and eliminate the triggers that lead to fearful responses in your dog, or modify its response accordingly, consulting a veterinarian may help rule out underlying conditions like pain or illness that could be leading to the fearful reactions. This may give them insight into any possible ways they could use their fearfulness against other people or animals.
If all appears physically stable, consult an experienced dog trainer or behaviorist for guidance in addressing unwanted behavior. Punishing or scolding will never be an effective means of managing it - instead seek professional assistance to restore calm to their lives and get rid of those bad behaviors once and for all!
As a caring pet parent, your goal should be to repay their unwavering trust by helping them live the happiest possible life alongside you.
If your beloved furry companion has been showing signs of anxiety, we hope this list provides insights into what may be going on from their perspective.
Distracting and familiarizing your pet with stressors will go a long way to keeping them stress-free and content. Also offering calm guidance and reassurance will assist them.
However, never be intimidated to seek professional assistance in providing your four-legged friend with all of the physical and emotional support necessary to live free from anxiety or fear. Remember your wisdom, compassion and loving bond make their world brighter - both your four-legged friend's and your own! (And vice versa!)
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