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What to Do About Your Dog's Anxiety

Stress and Anxiety in Dogs

By November 21, 2012 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian


What to Do About Your Dog's Anxiety

Dogs, like people, can be made anxious or stressed out because of various external triggers. Learn more about canine anxiety here at

Like humans, dogs feel anxiety and stress when they learn to fear triggers or certain stimuli. Whether it's a reaction to firecrackers exploding outdoors or extreme dread when they see their owner leave the home, there are numerous factors that can cause pets to become anxious and fearful. Some fears worsen with age, and if these anxieties go untreated, they may become a health issue over time.

Separation anxiety is a common behavioral problem due to the social nature of dogs, though there are numerous other causes that can bring on anxiety. Pet parents will observe disruptive or atypical behavior when their dogs are in duress due to anxiety. Some of these symptoms may be subtle, while others will be disruptive and obvious.

Causes of Canine Anxiety

Dog phobias range in variety, from common fears like loud noises (like thunderstorms or fireworks), to very specific triggers like shadows or riding in cars. Some breeds are genetically disposed to anxiety disorders, but all dogs can develop anxiety from a fear of immediate or future dangers. These fears may be associated with past negative experiences, or have been formed during their socialization period. The cause of canine fears can be imagined or real.

Symptoms of Canine Anxiety

Canine anxiety can manifest in a number of behaviors and symptoms. Some dogs show anxiety in subtle ways that can be interpreted as odd but not abnormal behavior, such as excessive yawning, licking, panting, shaking, or hiding. Other symptoms, like incessant barking, aggression, whining, and defecating in the house, are more disruptive, and can be misinterpreted as unruly behavior.

Canine Anxiety Treatments

Pet parents must observe their dogs' symptoms closely and try to determine the root of their pet's fears. There are ways pet parents can positively reinforce their dogs to reduce stress or desensitize them to the anxiety trigger. Professional dog trainers can help determine the best behavioral modifications strategies. But in more severe cases, consultation with a veterinarian, who may run tests to look for larger medical issues or prescribe anti-anxiety medication, is recommended.

More on Pet Anxiety and Health

The 7 Unsuspected Pet Dangers of Summer
Traveling with Your Pet
First Aid: Treating A Dog's Laceration

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.


Talk to your vet about anxiety meds. Try using a Thundershirt. Give him LOTS of exercise. Give him LOTS of appropriate things to chew on. Don't leave him unattended with stuff you don't want chewed. Put him in a crate when he's unattended.


So your solution to your dogs excessive chewing is to put him down? Wow, would you do that to your child if they didn't stop their bad behavior? NO. You should not be an animal owner if that's the way you think. Omg, I rescued a 5yr old chihuahua that had no human contact-he lived in a sm crate & was used for stud services only. They were gonna put him down they said he was to viscous all 7lbs of him. For 3 days I couldn't touch him w/o getting attacked. But being calm & having another chihuahua to help show him the appropriate behavior. He lived a happy living life w/me & our family until he was 21yrs old. We just listed him 2yrs this may. You need to relax & keep giving them positive reinforcement. Give him chew toys, don't leave him unattended where he can chew up stuff. Play with him, go for long walks & get him tired so when you are not there to keep an eye on him, he will sleep. I also had a pit bull mix that used to suck/chew on the end of her bed pillow. I too had to bottle feed her at 3wks old. My vet said that the sucking/chewing could be from not being able to nurse when she was a pup. But keeping her busy so she was so tired to chew. I'm sure he is just bored & lonely. Please don't ever put a dog down because you can't teach them the correct behavior. Reach out there are plenty of people that can help you and your pet learn appropriate behavior/training methods.


What would be the reason for a dog to constantly chew on metal fencing. Have a beautiful German Short Hair male dog, a little over a year old. He was born with a joint dysplasia front leg. Was raised on a bottle as the mother would not take care of him. We have tried everything we could think of to stop the chewing. He has destroyed bedspreads, blankets, and metal fencing. He Will not listen to commands, hard to walk on a leash. We are afraid this anxiety problem is only going to get worse. We are thinking of putting him down. What advice can anyone give us? He is a gentle dog, not a mean bone in his body. But he has become a big problem. Finding another home will only increase the anxiety. We are at our wits end ad to what to do with him.

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