Just like human beings, dogs can also have anxiety. Anxiety could be a result of changes in the environment which your pet is unable to cope with. It might seem like a tiny problem, but if untreated, your dog can experience negative effects over time. There are tons of symptoms that could help you determine if your dog has anxiety. While some are very obvious, some can go unnoticed.
Dogs have different ways of displaying their anxiety. If you worry that your dog is affected by stress or anxiety, you might want to check the following key signs. Remember that the earlier you recognize these symptoms, the quicker you can offer help to your furry friend.
Have you noticed these?
- Excessive chewing and licking – There are several reasons why your dog chews and licks their paws, skin and coat a lot. Yes, he or she could just be playful, but as a pet owner, you should be able to identify if this is merely his habit an allergy, or a result of a certain stressor. Excessive chewing and licking are one of the most common expressions of anxiety so be wary of his actions. Chewing calms your dog so if you notice that he or she chews a lot and with items that are not proper chewing toys, he may be trying to get away from anxiety.
- Excessive panting – Panting is normal as this is one way for your dogs to regulate body temperature and keep them healthy but if your dog pants louder and harsher than usual, they might be suffering from anxiety. Excessive panting is usually the dog’s response to chronic or prolonged fear.
- Excessive noise – Yes, barking is usual for your dog, but if it is constant and happening for no reason at all, it could mean that your dog is bothered and anxious over some things. Your pet’s barking could be one way for your dog to tell you how they are feeling.
- Difficulty in staying calm – Imagine yourself to have anxiety¾it’s hard to relax and stay calm, right? This also applies to your dogs. Dogs will mostly repeatedly change its pace, lie down and get back as a response to an anxious situation. His inability to settle will continue even if he is tired. If you notice this type of behavior in your dog, figure out what could bring about the anxiety. Once you have figured it out, stray him away from these.
- Escape behavior – Once a dog is experiencing anxiety, he or she will look for a place to hide and to be away from the environment they find uncomfortable. Your dog may panic and try to escape by clawing at the doors or windows. Observe if he or she is also frequently hiding from people they usually play with, this could be his way of avoiding a hostile situation.
- Destructive behaviors – Are your shoes or furniture (or just about any items reachable) chewed by your dogs? If your answer is yes, this could mean that your dog is experiencing anxiety. Your dog can also experience separation anxiety if these things occur while you are not at home.
- Loss of appetite – Unlike human beings, dogs do not go on diets. It might be best to seek professional help once you notice your dog losses appetite, even with their favorite treats.
- Half-moon eye – Check the shape of your dog’s eye when the whites of their eyes are visible. Any irregularities seen in this examination could mean that he or she is suffering from anxiety. Your dog might be giving you a signal that things are not what they should be and something is bothering them.
If you have noticed these signs exhibited by your dog, it is best to seek professional help as soon as possible. Consult friends who have had a similar experience with their pets, or online sources (like http://thehappypooch.com) about the issue at hand¾it might help you find a solution. Remember, all dogs are unique, and so are their needs.
Jeffery is a pet enthusiast and volunteer at his local pet shelter. His passion for animals started at an early age and through his work on becoming a veterinary student he understands and cares for pets of all species. Jeffery currently writes for The Happy Pooch and has 2 cats, a bird and a dog named Lucy.