Dogs experience anxiety and stress for any number of reasons. Whether it’s a loud thunderstorm or a ride in the car, pet parents may be surprised to see their furry friend have a severe and unexpected reaction. Learn more about why dogs experience anxiety and what you can do about it.
1) Some dog breeds are prone to anxiety
Canine anxiety can affect any dog. But some breeds are genetically disposed to experiencing anxiety. Highly intelligent, high energy breeds are more likely to develop this type of stress, like Bernese Mountain dogs, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, Dalmatians, Great Pyrenees, Pekingese, Siberian Huskies, Standard Poodles, and some Terrier breeds.
2) Separation anxiety is a common trigger among dogs
Dogs are highly social animals. Along with noises and social anxiety, separation anxiety is one of the top types of stress dogs develop. While all dogs are attached to their owners to some degree, extreme stress when you leave the house is a sign of anxiety. Dogs may begin to react when they see you simply put on your jacket or pick up your keys.
3) Dogs express anxiety in different ways
While some dogs quietly pant or shake when they are experiencing anxiety, others will bark, chew and destroy furniture, or defecate indoors. The range of symptoms dogs show when feeling anxious varies greatly. Pet owners should look out for any atypical behavior that occurs when dogs are in different or new situations.
4) Training may help undo anxiety triggers
Just like a dog can be trained to sit and shake paws, they can be deconditioned to unlearn phobias and triggers of anxiety. Depending on the root of the anxiety, you and a dog trainer can test out routine exposures or actions that desensitize your dog.
5) Medication can help treat dogs with severe anxiety
In some cases, tranquilizers or long term medicine is recommended to help dogs deal with severe anxiety. Dogs that have trouble flying in airplanes or have a difficult time with fireworks on July 4th can be given tranquilizers prescribed by a vet. And pups that are riddled with constant anxiety can be treated with regular medication.
Canine anxiety is stressful not only to dogs, but to their pet parents as well. But the proper diagnosis, treatment, and behavior modification plan can help reduce anxiety almost immediately. After consulting your veterinarian, you can also seek out the aid of dog trainers to help determine the best way to reduce anxiety and provide comfort to your dog.
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This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.