Loud noises, fear of staying at home alone, travelling, being around other pets, strangers, or children, and fear of abandonment- a number of reasons can cause anxiety in dogs. Fortunately, anxiety in dogs can be treated successfully, given you know that a dog is anxious.
Anxious dogs always show some recognizable symptoms. If you think your dog is having anxiety, here are the signs to look out for.
Sign #1: Increased vigilance
Observe your dog. Is it constantly scanning the surroundings? Does it refuse to leave your side? Does it keep its ears pricked? Does it watch you intently? If your answers are mostly yes, your pet is anxious.
Anxious dogs are always vigilant because they anticipate something bad. Moreover, you will also find them pacing around and fidgeting, as these repetitive behaviors make them calm, but only for a while.
Sign #2: Excessive barking
If your dog is barking excessively of late, it could be stressed out. Dogs try to scare off their anticipated threats by barking excessively and frantically.
Furthermore, dogs suffering from separation anxiety also bark excessively.
Sign #3: Avoidance, disconnection, or displacement behavior
Another sign that tells that your dog is anxious is avoidance. If it avoids something that is making it nervous, it is trying to avoid the thing that it perceives as dangerous. Also, anxious dogs show disconnection or displacement behavior. If your dog avoids eye contact with you or disconnects from a group situation, it could be due to anxiety and stress.
Dogs generally show this behavior subtly through their body language and actions. A tucked tail, ears at the back against their head, crouching low, moving with a compact stance, etc., are the actions that hint towards problems.
The best way to handle this situation is by letting your dog be. If it is turning away or running to hide somewhere, let it go until it becomes comfortable.
Sign #4: Excessive licking
Dogs lick themselves for several less serious reasons. But if your dog is licking itself excessively, you must worry.
Excessive licking is a symptom of anxiety in dogs. It triggers their brain to release endorphin that puts them at ease and relieves their anxiety.
If you find your dog licking or chewing its legs or feet, do not take it as normal behavior. It could be anxiety.
Sign #5: Changes in eyes and ears
Humans dilate their pupils and blink excessively when they are stressed. The same is the case with dogs. When they are stressed, they also blink rapidly and dilate their pupils. You will find them opening their eyes wide, giving you a generous sight of the white part of their eye.
Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, they pin their ears back against their head when stressed.
How to deal with anxiety in dogs?
Managing anxiety in dogs is not a hard nut to crack. Several strategies and medications work in helping dogs with anxiety.
- Desensitize your dog by exposing it to the source of anxiety. Start slowly by using a low-intensity stimulus. Reward your dog for its positive response.
- Consult your vet and use anxiety-relieving medications, like antidepressants and SSRIs.
- If your dog has separation anxiety, do not leave it alone. Make it feel your love and presence to foster positive behavior.
- Apart from relieving seizures and joint pain in dogs, CBD helps with anxiety. Using CBD for dogs separation anxiety has worked for many pet owners.
The bottom line
Just like humans, anxiety hits dogs too. Understand the signs and symptoms of anxiety and help your little pup deal with it with the help of the above-listed measures.