Anxious dogs tend to act out in ways their people do not like. If you have ever returned home to discover shredded pillows or bite marks on your front door, you are probably familiar with the consequences of anxiety. Understanding why your dog is anxious is the key to helping your dog overcome this common problem.
Causes of Anxiety
Dogs can develop anxiety for a variety of reasons, including:
- Fear. Dogs have long memories and they do not forget about the bad experiences they have had. If these experiences occurred before your dog came to live with you, you may never know the cause of the fear. Even a trip to a kennel can provoke long-lasting anxiety in dogs.
- Poor Socialization. Puppies need to be exposed to a range of people and situations to become confident. If your pet did not receive proper socialization during the first months, anxiety may become a chronic problem.
- Aging. Aging causes many changes in your dog’s health and behavior. It’s not unusual for a previously fearless dog to develop anxiety, particularly if vision loss, dementia or other health issues are a problem.
- Being Trapped. If your dog experienced a stressful situation in the past and could not escape, anxiety may develop when a similar situation occurs. For example, if your dog was confined to a crate when firecrackers went off nearby, you may notice anxiety symptoms when you bring out the crate.
- Disease And Conditions. Viruses that affect your dog’s central nervous system can cause permanent damage that may alter your pet’s reaction to stressful situations.
- Unknown Causes. You may never know what caused your dog’s anxiety. Some breeds of dogs, including poodles, Siberian huskies, Chesapeake Bay retrievers, Great Pyrenees, German shorthaired pointers, border collies and Bernese mountain dogs, are more likely to develop anxiety.
Don’t Leave Me!
Separation anxiety is the most common type of anxiety in dogs. Dogs that experience the problem can’t stand to be away from family members for even a minute. If you must leave them alone, they tend to become destructive. This behavior is not a way to get back at you for leaving your pet. It’s simply the way your pet handles anxiety.
Signs of Anxiety
Your dog may suffer from anxiety if you notice any of the following signs:
- Barking And Howling. Dogs are often very vocal if they feel anxious. Although you may never hear the barking, whining or howling if it occurs when you are away from home, your neighbors might.
- Scratches On Doors And Windows. Your anxious dog will do anything to be reunited with you, including clawing and scratching at the doors and windows in an attempt to escape.
- Potty Accidents. Anxiety can cause your housetrained pet to experience accidents while you are away.
- Ear Position. You may notice that your dog’s ears are erect and pressed closer to its head.
- Pulled-Back Lips. Pulled-back lips or a tightly closed mouth can be signs that your dog does not feel calm and relaxed.
- Drooling, Shedding And Trembling. These physical signs are very common if your dog is anxious.
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