One of the hardest things about our relationships with pets is that when something is up, they can't easily communicate that to us. Our furry friends can suffer from stress and anxiety as much as people do, though it can be harder to recognize their symptoms.
If you think your pet might be anxious, here are 10 symptoms of anxiety in pets:
1. Continuous barking:
To get your attention, or to self-soothe, dogs that are fearful or tense may whine or bark. If your dog is barking for no reason and can not be soothed, it could very well be a sign of anxiety.
2. Yawning, drooling, and licking:
A very subtle and unspecific sign of anxiety that is often ignored is yawning. A stressful yawn is more prolonged and intense than a sleepy yawn. When anxious, dogs may also drool and lick themselves excessively.
3. Chewing or eating everything in sight:
Chewing on objects like door frames, window sills, and doorways, etc or even destroying household objects when left alone, are all signs of anxiety. This is your dog's way of getting nervous energy out of his/her system.
4. Tail thumping:
Tail thumping is usually considered as a sign of happiness. But tail thumping and a submissive grin together are a classic sign of anxiety and unhappiness in the canine world. Compared to the happy tail wag dogs have when you come home from work, anxious tail thumping can be slower and a bit more "sheepish."
5. Avoidance and hiding:
By concentrating on something else, dogs can "escape" when faced with an unwelcome situation. Anxious dogs will attempt to avoid situations, things, and people that scare them.
6. Urinating or defecating in the house:
A common symptom of separation anxiety is urinating and defecating in the house. Anxious dogs also work themselves up to the extent that they pee or poop in the house even though they are housebroken.
When hot, aroused, or anxious, dogs pant. So, if your dog hasn't jogged 10 miles in the summer sun and is still panting, it is probably a sign of anxiety.
If your dog is wandering around your house or yard, they may just be bored. But it may be a sign of anxiety as well. Dogs, like people, also pace when agitated. Some dogs pace around in circular patterns, while others pace in straight lines back and forth.
9. Shaking and trembling:
Some symptoms of anxiety are easier to spot, as is often the case with shaking and trembling, which is a sign of moderate to severe anxiety. Dogs usually shake or tremble due to stress or fear, which is most commonly seen at the vet’s or when fireworks are going off.
10. Decreased appetite:
If your dog refuses to eat or eats very little during mealtime, this could mean that he/she is under a lot of tension. Stress can be an underlying explanation as to why your dog is not as happy about his favorite treats.
Dog Anxiety: The Bottom Line
Like humans, at some point in their lives, many dogs will experience anxiety. You must be familiar with the everyday temperament of your dog to distinguish stress signals from normal behavior. It’s also advisable to consider a soothing bed that can help relax and ground your fur kid. Knowing the causes, symptoms, and treatment options associated with dog anxiety is crucial. If you think your dog might have an anxiety problem, it is best to contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will diagnose your dog, rule out any other health concerns, and help you build a care plan that best suits your dog and lifestyle.
And, finally, remember that stress isn’t always bad. Fear is a stress-related emotion that prompts us to avoid potentially dangerous situations. So, stress may be a protector. Regardless, stress is part of everyday life for us and our dogs, so we should learn how best to deal with it.