How to Recognize Signs of Anxiety in Your Pet
Dogs can become anxious for a variety of reasons. These include noises like thunder or fireworks, objects like hats or umbrellas, people, and situations like car rides or vet visits.
Many of these reactions may seem “normal,” but if they occur regularly, they can lead to anxiety, fear, or phobias. Learning to recognize these subtle signs is essential for pet parents.
Most dogs can experience fear, especially around new or unpredictable things. However, when their fear doesn’t subside, becomes severe, and disrupts normal behavior, it can be a sign of anxiety. Typical signs of panic include whining, pacing, panting, excessive salivation, inappropriate defecation, and urination. This includes as well chewing on furniture or walls.
If your dog has an anxiety attack that results in these symptoms, it’s important to calm them down and remove them from the situation that caused the reaction. Otherwise, the phobia or anxiety may become longer-term. (My dog took forever to get over getting stung by a wasp at night, so sometimes you can’t help it either.)
Also, be sure to provide your pet with a safe place, like their favorite bed or pet pen, when they feel anxious. You can also try distracting them with food, toys, or their favorite blanket and using calming tools like pheromone plug-ins or cannabidiol supplements. Stay calm, as your emotions can strongly affect your dog’s behavior.
Aggression can be one of pet owners’ most severe and dangerous behavioral problems. It is also the most common reason that pet owners seek the help of a behaviorist or trainer.
Aggressive behaviors in dogs are most often a result of fear and anxiety. Suppose your dog shows signs of fear aggression, such as licking excessively, sniffing with intensity, barking, growling, or snapping. In that case, you should remove them from the situation and seek professional help immediately.
A variety of situations and experiences can trigger fear aggression. This can include people moving quickly, visitors or other dogs entering a room unexpectedly, and loud noises. It can also be a response to specific places and situations that have been associated with fear in the past, such as the vet or groomer.
If your dog is exhibiting aggressive behaviors, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian and a positive-reinforcement trainer for guidance as soon as possible. .
If your dog licks its paws to the point that the skin is raw, becomes clingy, whines or barks when you prepare to leave home, rearranges furniture, chews items, or destroys household objects while alone, this may be separation anxiety. Many dogs develop this behavior after a change in their people’s schedule, a move to a new home, or the death of a family member. Punishment is ineffective for this condition, and introducing another dog only exacerbates the issue.
This is another time that giving them a ‘home’ can help. If they feel safe and secure there, with or without you, it will have been worthwhile. Social media has shown numerous ways people use pet pens, such as those provided by https://clearlylovedpets.com/, to improve not only a pets quality of life, but their own as well.
Teaching your dog that your cues (putting on shoes, grabbing the keys, going to the door) don’t always mean that you’re leaving will help reduce pre-departure anxiety. Repeat the process a few times daily until your dog begins to attend to these cues without anticipating you will go. This is called habituation, and it can take weeks or months. Long-term stress can cause a variety of health issues for your pet, including heart disease and gastrointestinal problems.
Fear and phobias can cause a dog to act in ways that seem aggressive or dangerous. It is important to treat anxiety as soon as it occurs to prevent it from worsening. A dog that is not treated can get so scared that it may try to escape from its environment or destroy things in it.
A fearful reaction can include a sudden stillness, lowered ears or head, and avoidance of eye contact. It can also have a furrowed brow and the whites of the eyes becoming visible. This is called whale eyeing and is a sign that the dog is extremely fearful.
If a dog displays these signs of fear or phobia regularly and does not seem to be reacting to specific triggers, this could indicate a general anxiety disorder. Keep in mind triggers can be anything. I’ve known dogs that have serious problems with skateboards, golf carts, long hair, and I’m sure there are many other examples. Changes in the daily routine can also cause stress for dogs, as can spats between people in the household or even the presence of another pet.