We tend to view dogs as happy-go-lucky critters. Between their unconditional love and their boundless energy, they just give the impression of never having a care in the world. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Just like humans, canines are capable of experiencing anxious periods. They may even have full-on diagnosable anxiety.
You may not even recognize dog anxiety behavior when you see it. If you learn how to notice it, and accept it as a possibility, then you can start giving your pets the care they need. In this deep dive, we will describe symptoms of dog anxiety and spotlight some helpful treatments.
Possible Dog Anxiety Behavior & Traits
Dog anxiety behavior can be tough to identify as signs of anxiety. You may just as easily assume that your dog is just excited or overstimulated, and sometimes you would be right. Mannerisms can take on new meaning depending on the context, though. Here are just a few gestures that may indicate a stressed-out pup.
Difficulty with Separation
Many dogs are known to wait patiently and forlornly when their owners step out. Some, though, have much greater difficulty coping with loneliness. Separation anxiety may be the most well-known form of anxiety that canines experience. It may sound cute, a sign of your pet’s love, but it is not fun for your dog.
The stress may become too much for your dog if left untreated. Destructive behaviors may result, such as laying waste throughout the living space and damaging furniture. If you notice a strong reaction in your pet as you prepare to leave it alone, consult a vet.
You reach out your hand to pet your dog, only for it to turn its head away from you. At the same time, it swivels its eyes so far toward you that you can see the whites. This curious behavior, known as “whale eyes,” is not being performed for cute pictures. Rather, it is a notable sign of discomfort.
When you see your pet with whale eyes, leave it alone. Facing away shows that it does not want to be touched, and training one eye on you shows that it is on guard. Then, check if anything in the room or your body language may be spooking your buddy.
Unlike the symptoms we have described so far, panting is not necessarily a sign of anxiety. Dogs do it for all kinds of reasons. This action provides relief from the heat and helps them catch their breath after physical exertion. If you can rule out both as a cause, though, then something darker may be responsible.
Are there loud noises at unexpected times? Have you been raising your voice or stomping around the room? Is another dog around, or a cat? When trying to read a dog’s body language, context is crucial. See if you can pinpoint any potential sources of stress.
Why do living things yawn? The question has stumped scientists for ages. People and animals do it when they are sleepy. The real puzzle is the physical function of the act if there even is one. When you notice that your dog is yawning constantly, you have all the more reason to be concerned.
Many veterinarians and specialists accept a connection between excessive yawning and dog anxiety behavior. There may not be any definitive proof, but it is an unusual shift. The way they see it, the gesture relieves tension. When you notice it, consider that your dog may be tense.
How to Treat Dog Anxiety
Comparing dog anxiety to human anxiety can make it easier to understand. Both are real, no doubt about it. Both can manifest in particularly challenging periods or even pass through the genes. More positively, both can be relieved in the short term and treated in the long term. Here are a few ways you can help your pet.
Sometimes, the causes of dog anxiety behavior are beyond your control. Noisy work on your roof, unfamiliar humans entering your home, and the effects of aging are just a few examples. With that said, owners can be active in taking their pet’s minds off their stressors.
To be clear, we are not claiming that jingling keys and playing fetch cures mental health issues. Engaging in playtime and practicing their commands — sit, roll over, high-five — can get them out of their heads and offer pleasure in a tough time. Just make sure that your dog does not want some alone time first.
A Space of Their Own
Common wisdom dictates that dogs always want to be around their owners, while cats stick to their own spaces. Like so much “common wisdom,” the truth is more complicated. Many dogs appreciate having a little spot to call their own. It could be a cozy dog bed, the area under your bed, or a less-visited corner of the home.
Even if your pet seems happy and mentally healthy, giving them a shelter like that could be great. Such a space could serve as a sanctuary during bouts of anxiety. Stock it with favorite toys, objects that emit comforting scents, and even some treats.
One important thing to understand about anxiety — dog, human, or otherwise — is that it can be a disease. The cause may not be by environmental factors, but imbalances in brain chemicals. It may even be hereditary. As with any disease, it can be treated and managed with the aid of medicinal supplements.
As soon as you notice dog anxiety behavior in your pet, arrange an appointment with a vet. They may be able to provide more guidance than we can in one article, including information specific to your furry friend. Moreover, they can prescribe capsules, tablets, and injectable supplements that can help your dog calm down. A previous post in our blog described one example, clonidine, in great depth.
Dog Anxiety Treatments at Lambert Vet Supply
We take canine mental health seriously here at Lambert Vet Supply. We do not just medicinal products for the body, but also the mind. Our dog anxiety and behavior prescriptions can help your pup find peace in a difficult time. Check out our diverse selection of high-quality medications at our online store today.