Over the last ten years, a significant transformation has been made in comprehending and managing human anxiety; dogs also experience stress and anxiety-like their human counterparts. However, their inability to express their feelings in words makes it challenging to identify when dealing with anxiety.
Assuming the role of a dog parent, it is your responsibility to discern what triggers anxiety in your furry friend. By reducing these triggers, you can ensure your dog feels secure and content in their surroundings. Dogs' signs of anxiety can often be understated, making it all the more critical for you to stay alert and learn to pinpoint the potential sources of their stress.
Dog stress can be categorized into fear, phobias, and anxiety.
- Fear: Fear is a natural reaction to a perceived external danger. Evaluating the circumstances lets you discern whether the response is typical or unwarranted. For instance, fear-induced aggression could be normal if your dog or their loved ones are in danger. Conversely, it is deemed inappropriate if fear aggression is targeted at an individual who isn't exhibiting any threatening signs towards your dog. It's important to understand that your dog's perception of the situation might differ; something harmless to you might seem threatening.
- Phobias: Phobias refer to intense fears in response to an external trigger. In dogs, the most frequently encountered phobias are related to noises, including loud sounds, thunderstorms, and fireworks.
- Anxiety: Anxiety refers to a disturbing sensation or fear that arises in anticipation of a perceived threat. For example, separation anxiety is a condition where a pet exhibits an atypical response when separated from their owner, regardless of the duration of the separation.
Signs of Stress and Anxiety in Dogs
Recognizing the difference between usual and anxiety-driven behaviors in your dog is essential, necessitating a good understanding of your pet's routine behavior.
In general, dogs at ease typically exhibit round, wide-open eyes; balanced weight on all four limbs; an upright tail; and ears that are erect and facing forward. Their breathing is regular, except if they are panting due to play or physical activity.
Below are some signs of anxiety in dogs that you should look for.
- Pacing and Shaking
- Increased Heart Rate and Panting
- Compulsive Behaviors
- Hypervigilance (Dilated Pupils, Ear Signals, Stiff Posture)
- Hiding or Acting Depressed
- Having Diarrhea or Accidents
How to Help an Anxious Dog
Here are some strategies you can employ to assist your dog in preventing or responding to stress.
- Avoid Stressful Situations
- Try New Strategies in a Safe Environment
- Ask Your Vet About Anti-Anxiety Medications